About fostering

As a foster carer, you provide a temporary home for a child or young person. You also help them understand what is happening to them. Providing love and stability at a difficult time in their lives.

These children and young people have had a tough start to life and may find it hard to build relationships. Your support and reassurance will build their self-esteem and confidence.

If you want to learn more about fostering with us? Hear it from a foster carer's point of view. Foster carer Michelle has over 12 years experience and explains the process of becoming a carer. As well as the impact of changing a child's life.

Who can foster?

You don’t need any special qualifications. Your experience and outlook on life that’s most important. We are looking for people who can help make a real, positive difference to a child.

There’s no such thing as the ‘typical’ foster carer. Our carers come from all different backgrounds. All with different circumstances and a range of experiences, skills and knowledge.

We welcome applications from people whatever their marital status, sexuality, religious or cultural background and age (over 21). We’ll give you the training and support so that you can meet the needs of children in care.

Foster carers:

  • can be single, married, or living with a partner, lesbian, gay, transsexual or bisexual. Everyone in your household should commit to fostering. If you are in a couple, you’ll have lived with your partner for a reasonable period
  • don’t need to have your own children but have experience of looking after children or young people
  • don’t have to own your home, you can be renting, but you’ll need a spare room
  • can have pets, unless it’s a dangerous breed of dog - many children can enjoy living with a family pet
  • don’t need any formal qualifications. We provide the training you need to help you develop the skills to foster
  • need to be a permanent resident in the UK

Our fostering team are here to discuss fostering opportunities, get in touch to start your fostering journey.

Types of fostering

The children and young people in care are all looking for the same thing. A safe and caring home.

There are different types of fostering that carers can choose. It’s important to think about what kind of fostering would be more suited to you, your family and your situation. We’ll help you to do this during the assessment process.

Short-term fostering

This is for short periods, it could be an overnight stay, or a few months.

If you choose to foster short term, you care for a child until we can reunite them with their family, move them to a long-term placement, or find them a permanent adoptive family.

Long-term fostering

Most children and young people will return to their birth families. For those who can’t, we’ll find them a long-term foster carer.

If you choose to foster long term, the child will become a member of your family and live with you until they’re 18. Where possible, you would help the child keep positive links with their birth family.

Short breaks or respite fostering

Respite fostering is when a child has a pre-planned stay with a new family to give their parents or foster carers a break. Usually, vulnerable or disabled children, or those with behavioural difficulties.

If you choose short break care, you can expect to look after a child for a day, a night, a couple of days, or a week. You could also support a child by helping them get involved in social activities during weekends, holidays or after school.

Sibling groups

It can be better for brothers and sisters to stay together. Where possible, we’ll try to find carers who can foster siblings.

Parent and baby placements

Some mums or dads may need support and guidance to care for their babies or young children.

If you choose parent and baby placements, both parent and child live with you. You work with other professionals to see how they cope. You help them develop as a parent, encouraging and supporting them.

There are lots of ways to foster. Get in touch with the fostering team to discuss which type of fostering suits to you.

There are other ways that people provide support for children and young people.

These are:

Family and friends (kinship arrangements)

Kinship care is when a child lives with a relative or friend who isn’t their parent. This is usually because their parents aren’t able to care for them.

Special guardianships

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is a court order that grants parental responsibility. This gives legal status to non-parents until the child reaches the age of 18. It also preserves the link with the child's natural birth parents. Special guardians make day-to-day decisions for the child.

Private fostering

This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. Birth parents and private foster carers need to notify the local authority within six weeks.

We will then carry out our legal duty to ensure that the child is safe. We will organise regular visits and offer advice and support when needed.

Supported lodgings

Provides a young person with a room of their own in a home. This is a stepping stone to them achieving their independence. You would help them get familiar everyday living, without any parental responsibility.

Remand / PACE

Remand fostering provides care while a child waits for court dates. It provides an alternative to being in custody or secure accommodation. While giving them a chance to show positive changes to their behaviour in society. You will support them to meet bail conditions. As well as helping them attend court dates and meetings with solicitors.

Emergency care

Emergency foster care is usually short-term. Providing care for children who need somewhere to stay at short notice. This ensures they have somewhere safe to stay while care proceedings take place or we can find a long-term home.

Ready to find out more?

Our fostering team are on hand to help get you started.

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