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What is fostering?

  • Fostering is a way to provide children and young people with a home when they cannot stay with their birth family.
  • Children are ‘fostered’ by a foster parent who is registered with either the local authority or an independent fostering agency.
  • Foster carers work with link workers to make sure the child under their care is protected and supported.

Fostering or foster care, is a way of providing a safe and loving family home for children who cannot, for whatever reason, live with their own parents. Foster families open their homes and hearts to children in need and share their family life with them.

There are many reasons a child may enter the care system; sometimes this is by choice of the family and sometimes it may be by court order. Parents may be struggling to care for their child and speak to social services to get help. Other times, families may be struggling with addiction or abuse and the local authorities have chosen to remove that child for their own safety and protection.

For many children who come into care, a foster family may be the first time they have been properly cared for. Children have often suffered neglect, violence or mistreatment in their past and that’s why it is really important that their foster home provides a safe, warm and loving environment to allow them to grow and develop.

Every child who comes into care is different. Foster care is sometimes used as a temporary solution whilst problems within the birth family are resolved, or plans for adoption are completed. For other children, fostering provides a permanent family environment where they can stay until they are old enough to live independently. Each child who comes under our care will have different experiences and different needs, that’s why we welcome foster parents from all walks of life!

If situations change, a foster child can sometimes return to their birth parents. We always endeavour to maintain open channels with birth families for communication. We want to work together to improve the future of all cared for children. Sometimes however, returning home is not possible. This can mean we often need foster families to care for a child on a long-term basis, providing a loving home for them just like any traditional family!

All foster parents need to be registered with a relevant body to be eligible to foster - this can be with an independent foster agency, like Family Fostering Partners or with a local authority. Choosing to work with an independent fostering agency means you benefit from ongoing support as well as regular training and supervision.

At Family Fostering Partners, all of our foster parents have a real opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of children in care. We provide our carers with all the support they need to build a brighter future for young people across England and Wales.

If you feel that you are ready to open your home and heart to a child in need of care, fostering could be a fantastic career choice for you.

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