Family Fostering Partners uses cookies and analytical tracking in order to improve your experience on our website. Please provide consent for this process by clicking the consent button below. You can opt-out at any time by visiting familyfosteringpartners.co.uk/opt-out.

Fostering Babies – The Facts

The prospect of fostering babies often conjures an image of caring for a vulnerable, innocent infant - a compelling and heartwarming scenario for many potential foster carers and those looking to become foster carers. The primal instinct to protect and nurture is strong, especially when it comes to newborns and toddlers who are inherently defenceless. However, while the idea of foster care for infants is appealing, it is crucial to understand the realities and demands of the fostering landscape in the UK, particularly the fact that the need for carers for babies is relatively low compared to children of other ages.

Why Do Babies Enter Foster Care?

Babies can be placed into foster care for various reasons. These may include instances where a mother has previously had children removed due to child protection concerns, indicating a potential risk to the newborn, or situations involving parental substance abuse that could hinder adequate care. Additionally, some birth parents decide to place their child for adoption, necessitating foster care as a temporary solution until adoptive parents can assume legal guardianship.

Despite these circumstances, as mentioned earlier it is essential to note that babies represent just a small fraction of the overall population of looked-after children. Social workers prioritise keeping children with their birth families whenever possible, but unfortunately, this is not always feasible. In cases of neglect or prior removal of siblings by care services, infants may require the safety and stability foster care provides.

The Statistics Behind Fostering Babies

The statistics reveal a clear picture: fostering babies is less common than many might think. Government data shows that a small percentage of looked-after children are under the age of one. For instance, according to the latest statistics in 2019, in Wales, only 385 looked-after children were under one year or younger, compared to 5,160 who were aged 5 or older.

This data underscores the reality that while there is a need for infant foster carers, the demand significantly increases for those willing to foster older children, including teenagers. The fostering community faces a greater challenge in finding homes for these older age groups, who are also in dire need of care, support, and stability.

Parent and Child Fostering: A different path towards fostering babies. 

One specialised avenue within foster care that uniquely aligns with the desire to care for infants is parent and child fostering. This form of fostering involves welcoming both a vulnerable parent and their baby into a foster home, offering a distinct opportunity to support not just a young child but also their parent(s) in developing the necessary skills for successful family life.

Typically, parent and child placements last around 12 weeks, a critical period for assessing the parent's abilities to care for their child independently. Foster carers in this scenario play a dual role: they provide a nurturing environment for the baby while also guiding the parent through learning essential parenting skills and other life competencies, such as cooking, budgeting, and maintaining a household.

This type of foster care not only aids in keeping families together but also addresses the root of some issues leading to foster care placements. By supporting parents in these critical early stages, foster carers can have a profound impact on the long-term wellbeing of both the child and their parent, offering a pathway towards a stable and united family life. We have more detailed information on Mother and Baby foster care on our dedicated Parent and Child page.

Can You Just Foster Babies in the UK?

Interest in exclusively fostering babies is understandable, but it's important to recognise the broader needs within the foster system. While opportunities exist, especially through parent and child fostering, the reality is that the demand for carers willing to take on older children is much higher. This does not mean, however, that those drawn to fostering infants shouldn't explore this path. Every foster carer brings a unique set of skills and preferences that can significantly benefit the children and families they serve.

Prospective foster carers must meet certain criteria, including being over 21 years of age and having a spare bedroom in their home, these requirements are the same for those looking to foster babies or foster toddlers. Those interested in learning more about fostering babies, or those wanting to explore parent and child foster placements are encouraged to reach out to us for more information. As with all of our types of fostering, we provide specialist training and ongoing support to prepare carers for the unique challenges and rewards of fostering.


Fostering babies and engaging in parent and child placements offers a special opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of both young children and their parents. While the statistical need for infant foster carers is lower compared to the demand for carers of older children, the impact of those who do choose to foster infants can be profound. Understanding the complexities and realities of foster care for infants in the UK is crucial for anyone considering this path. By offering a stable, nurturing environment, foster carers play an indispensable role in shaping the futures of vulnerable children and their families.

Whether you're drawn to the idea of fostering infants or are open to caring for children of all ages, your contribution can make a world of difference in a child's life. We’re always at hand to answer any questions you may have about fostering, you can get in touch with us by visiting our Contact Us page, by calling 0330 0948816, or by using our online chat feature to speak to a member of our team.

return to news & blogs

Thinking about fostering?

With your busy life, we like to keep things simple! Please choose the option below that suits you best.