What is foster care?

Foster care provides children with a stable, safe and nurturing family environment, when they’re unable to live with their birth family. This may be on a short or long-term basis and will depend on their personal care plan.

A child may not be able to live with their birth family and placed into foster care for a variety of reasons, for example;

  • A parent may have developed a serious illness
  • A child has or is experiencing abuse at home
  • A parent is suffering from depression and is seriously withdrawn
  • A parent is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction
  • There is domestic violence within the family household

Foster children may have led unpredictable, insecure and unsettled lives. At Fosterplus, we ensure our foster parents offer children and young people the security and stability they need to build themselves a stronger, happier and more secure future.

what is foster care

What do foster parents do?

As well as providing day-to-day care for a vulnerable child, foster parents also play an important role in supporting their education, health and wellbeing, and overall development. They’re also required to complete daily logs, attend meetings and work as part of a wider team to ensure the child receives all the support they need to reach their full potential.

Children in care sometimes find it difficult to express their emotions and instead let us know how they’re feeling through their behaviour. Foster parents will need to manage their sometimes-challenging behaviour and work with the child to understand what they’re trying to communicate.

Types of foster care

We provide a variety of different foster care placements to meet the needs of children and young people in care, including;

  • Short term / interim foster care – these are the most common type of foster placement and can vary in length from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. These are the most common types of placement and can vary in length from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. The children involved may be going through care proceedings or waiting to be adopted. Alternatively, their parents may be temporarily unable to care for them, through illness or other circumstance.
  • Long term foster care – these placements allow children who can’t or don’t wish to be adopted, to live in a stable, caring family environment until they become adults.
  • Emergency care – sometimes, a child may be removed from their birth family at short notice if there are concerns around their safety and wellbeing. This can happen at any hour of the day, so an emergency foster placement is required while the child’s care plan is reviewed.
  • Respite / short break foster care – these are carefully planned foster placements that provide foster parents with a short break from fostering. Children will stay with other familiar foster parents for a short period of time.
  • Parent and child fostering – these may be pre-birth placements, to help the mother prepare for the arrival of her baby. Or they may be a parent who needs some help to learn basic care skills, and how to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their child.
  • Specialist placements – some children have specialist needs – perhaps because they have a disability, or they have come to the UK seeking asylum and have little or no English skills. At Fosterplus, we will provide you with the full specialist training to ensure you are able to care for these specialist needs.

What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?

Fostering is often a temporary arrangement for a child, although some fostering placements can be long-term. Whereas, adoption is permanent and provides the child with the same legal status in your family as any other family member.

In fostering, the local authority and birth parents have legal responsible for the child in care, so foster parents are required to seek permission for a variety of day-to-day activities, such as haircuts, school trips and holidays. In adoption, this legal responsibility is transferred across to the adoptive parent.

Who can foster?

We welcome people from all walks of life to join our committed fostering team, no matter your gender, ethnicity, sexuality or civil status – so long as you’re over 21 years old, you’re a UK citizen or have leave to remain, you have a spare bedroom and are able to provide a child with a stable, loving home.

Take your first step

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent and would like to learn more, then we’d love to hear from you. Simply fill in our online form and one of our friendly fostering advisors will be in touch.