What is fostering?

Learn about the children who need a foster home, and how long they may stay with you

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Fostering is looking after a child or a young person who can’t live with their family

They may need a home until they become adults, or only for a little while.

As a foster carer, you’ll receive a fee and a lot of support to look after a child in your own home. You’ll work with us and the local authority to do what's best for a child.

You’ll help them with their education, contact with their families, and their emotional wellbeing.

Who are the children?

Many of the children in our care have experienced trauma in their childhood. This could be due to abuse, neglect or exploitation. They need a lot of love and support.

While their age can vary, most of our foster children are aged six and over. We often need to find homes for teenagers and older children.

We also look for foster homes for:

Many of the children who need a foster home have brothers or sisters. We look for foster carers with more than one spare room to help keep siblings together. This is really important to give children a sense of stability.

Learn why keeping siblings together matters

In some parts of the UK, we need foster carers to look after parents who have their own children. This type of fostering usually lasts around three months. You’ll work with professionals to help these mums or dads with their parenting skills.

Read Ann and Paul's story on making the decision to foster

We also look for short break foster carers who have the skills and experience to support children with disabilities. You’ll get specialist training and supervision based on the child’s needs.

Our two specialist services are in Devon and South Wales.

Children and young people who have come to the UK seeking asylum may need a home. This can be while their residency status or application gets decided or after they’ve been approved.

How long does a fostering placement last?

Fostering is about giving a home to a child or a young person, from a few weeks to many years. Every situation is different.

Many of our foster carers give children a long-term home until they’re ready to live on their own. Some young people stay with their foster family into adulthood, whether they study or work. This is what we call “staying put”.

Read why "staying put" was the best choice for Dionne's foster child

Other foster carers look after children who need somewhere to live temporarily. Some may even specialise in looking after children for a short amount of time.

In some parts of the UK, we look for short break carers. This allows a foster carer to look after a child or young people for a few days, usually on a regular basis. It allows a family or a full-time foster care to rest and have a break.

We take great care to match children with the right foster carers.

We will work you to find something that suits you both, taking the child’s best interest and your preferences into account.

Start your fostering journey
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