What is fostering?

What do foster carers do?

Foster care is a partnership which focuses on the needs of the child.  Foster carers, parents, social workers, fostering agencies and social services all work together.

What is a carer’s job?

UK Foster carers are responsible for working closely with their Fostering Agency and Local Authorities, to provide a safe and nurturing family environment. Foster carers are usually expected to help fostered children to stay in contact with their own families.

As a UK foster carer, you will be able to decide the  best types of placements suited to you and your family. Brothers and sisters who need to stay together, children with special needs, teenagers, asylum seeking youngsters and mothers and babies all need foster homes. Children who need foster care come from all backgrounds, and because of many different reasons.

What are the approval terms?

An important part of a foster carer’s approval is the types of placements, including the age ranges, carers are allowed to take. The terms of approval include the categories or types of placements, which the Fostering Panel has recommended.

The terms of the carer’s approval, makes it clear for the carer, the agency and the Local Authorities. The terms of approval can be changed by the agency at any time by presenting the reasons to the Panel and/or the Agency Decision Maker who is the person in the agency who makes the final decisions.

Learn more about the different types of placements.

Fostering Legislation

The main piece of legislation that affects children who are placed in foster care is the Children Act 1989, which says:

There are also Fostering Services Regulations and Minimum National Standards, which govern how Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies must work with children who are fostered and their birth families.

Affording to foster

Both private agencies and local authorities pay their carers fees and allowances for every child or teenager they foster. For many across the UK, fostering is their full time job.

Find out the allowance you could earn before tax.

What is the need?

New carers
New carers are required for children and young people aged between 0 to 18, from a variety of different backgrounds and abilities. Across the UK there is an urgent need for over 8,000 more foster carers every year.

This shortage means that social services have fewer choices of foster carers, therefore children are often being moved around from home to home, have to be split up from their brothers and sisters, and have to live a long way from their family and friends.

Learn more about why people foster children.

foster care handbook

and receive a FREE Foster Care Handbook

I always wanted to foster children. So far I’ve looked after thirty three children and look forward to the next thirty three.

Gillexperienced carer

My kids had left home and I have found it incredibly rewarding to look after foster children.

Lucyfoster carer for two years

Fostering has made it possible for me to stay at home and care for a brother and sister who are permanently staying us. We can’t imagine life without them now.

Gillfoster carer

Fostering is physically and emotionally demanding, but is also extremely rewarding.

Karenfoster carer

What do foster carers do?

UK Foster caring

Foster carers provide a place in their family for children who are unable to live with their own parents or carers.

Fostering provides both temporary and permanent (long term) care, sometimes for parents who need support, or for children or young people during difficult times in their lives.

Fostered children usually return home after a short period however, sometimes problems cannot be resolved and parents are unable to provide safe care. Children might move from foster care to be adopted, and young people might move on to independent living.

The challenges

Becoming a UK foster carer and fostering children holds many challenges for fostering families. It is a big step that everyone in the household should agree with, and be fully involved in.

What successful foster carers do:

  • Keep on learning.
  • Understand the limits of their personal strengths and abilities.
  • Expect to be given all the information they need.
  • Take a full part in the plans for a child.
  • Ask for help from their agency when begin to happen.
  • Know and accept when they have reached the end of their efforts.

Foster carer’s careers

Foster carers we have worked with have moved into different areas of professional childcare. Because of their fostering experiences, training and understanding of child development, foster carers have gained easier access to higher qualifications and some have trained as:

  • Specialised foster carers;
  • Social workers;
  • Counsellors;
  • Play therapists;
  • Youth workers;
  • Sexual health workers;
  • Residential workers;
  • Psychologists.

Although some foster carers further their interest in childcare, most continue to choose foster caring as well.

What does Simply Fostering do?

There are both Local Authority and Independent Fostering Agencies and every agency has vacancies.

Before inquiring or applying to become a foster carer, make sure that you choose the right agency for you and your family, by using our free fostering agency matching service, so contact us today.

Whats Next?

Learn core aspects of fostering and adopting

Why do people foster?

People wanted to foster to: ‘provide loving carers to children’ and ‘to save children from further harm.’
read more

Can I foster?

Can I?
Aged 21 yrs or older, physically and mentally fit? Care about children, have a spare room? You be a foster carer!
read more

children teenager

Agencies have to undertake checks by law to ensure the suitability of foster carers.
read more

foster carer woman teenager

Agencies pay about £380 per week, to foster carers for each child. Carers pay no tax up to £50,000 a year.
read more

Get started

Looking for help to become a foster carer?

For more information or to apply to become a foster carer or if you are interested in adoption.