What is fostering?
Fostering is providing a home for a child or young person who, for any number of reasons, cannot live with their family. Fostering is intended to be temporary arrangement. You can find out more about fostering by coming along to one of our fostering information events.
Why do we need foster carers?
All Councils have a duty to safeguard the welfare of children in their area. When families have difficulties managing or when social workers have concerns about a child’s safety we may have to make arrangements for the child to become ‘looked after’ and be cared for by foster carers.
There are many different reasons that lead to this decision and why children need foster care. It could be that their parents are ill, in prison, have relationship problems or dependent on substances. Some children will have been neglected or abused. Many children who are fostered return to live with their own families. Others will move to live with permanent carers. We need foster carers who can look after children and promote contact with their parents and professionals throughout this process.
Become a foster carer
We are looking for all kinds of foster carers who can provide a stable home for a child or young person. We need people to take on a wide range of placements including sibling groups, babies, teenagers and children with disabilities
There are many different kinds of fostering, but all of them involve caring for someone else’s child for a period of time.
Short term foster care
You will provide foster care for anything from an overnight stay up to a year. The plan will always be to try and return the child or young person in your care to their own family or if this is not possible to move them to live with permanent carers.
All foster carers receive extensive training, generous allowances and support to care for children. See below for further information on short term foster care:
- prospective foster carers brochure (PDF, 1157kb)
- questions asked by prospective foster carers (PDF, 239kb)
- foster care allowances (PDF, 242kb)
- training offered to foster carers (PDF, 16kb)
- fostering teenagers (PDF, 188kb)
Long term foster care
Sometimes children will not be able to return to live with their own families. With older children, adoption may not be appropriate. Long term fostering will allow a child to grow up in a safe and supported family environment while retaining connections with their birth family.
Short break care
Short breaks aim to relieve pressure on families who are parenting children with additional needs such as children with disabilities or challenging behaviour. Short breaks are overnight stays that can be weekly, monthly or just in school holidays. This form of foster care can suit people who are not in a position to provide full-time foster care, but are able to make a regular commitment to a child or children. See short break care information leaflet (PDF, 142kb) for further details.
Supported lodging carers provide a safe and supportive environment where young people aged 16-18 years can develop the skills needed to live independently as young adults. The young person is usually in full-time education, employment or training. See supported lodgings information (PDF, 133kb) for more details.
Parent and child fostering
Parent and child foster carers support and advise the parent (mother or father) of a baby or young child who are going through difficulties. The parent and their child are placed together in foster care. The foster carers do not necessarily provide parental care to the child (except if required) but help and encourage the parent to develop their skills. See parent and child information leaflet (PDF, 206kb) for further details.
Family and friends fostering
This is also known as connected persons fostering and is where care is provided by a relative or person already known to the child. These foster carers go through the same assessment process as mainstream foster carers and are provided with support and training.
You can also come and chat to us and some of our foster carers informally at one of our fostering information events.