Simply Fostering

Fostering Children



People can apply to be Foster Carers (Foster Parents), Kinship Carers (Family or Friends), Private Foster Carers (Private Arrangement) or Adopters in the UK; these are outlined below.

Babies And Toddlers

Fostering babies or toddlers is a rewarding type of fostercare as foster carers can see the baby thrive and develop in their care. Some babies have suffered neglect. Fostering a child under 2 is usually short term for up to 6 months. Most return to their parent(s), or move on for adoption.

Fostering Babies

Mother and Baby

Or parent and child. Usually a mother and her child are placed with foster carers to keep the child and mother safe and often to provide a foster carer assessment of the mother’s parenting skills. Mother and baby fostering care is an alternative to a residential unit

Caring for Mother & Baby

Special Needs

Disabled children needing foster care include those with medical conditions or physical or learning disabilities, such as autism, hyperactivity, attention deficits, or reading difficulties. Support and ongoing specialist training is provided to foster carers

Disabled Children


A significant number of children who need fostering care are young people or teenagers, both girls and boys.

Fostering Teenagers

Specialised Therapeutic

Fostering children and young people with very complex needs and/or challenging behaviour.

Therapeutic Care


Respite is usually part of a shared plan to ensure a consistency of care in the child’s life. Respite can be to give the foster carer or the child (or both) a short break.

Respite Fostering

Short Term

When foster parents are fostering children for a few weeks or months while plans are made for the child’s future. Most placements are with parental agreement.

Short Term Fostering

Kinship Foster Care

Or Family and Friends Foster Care. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings or other adults who are caring for a child, are providing kinship fostering.

Kinship Foster Care

Long Term

Not all children who have to live permanently away from their birth family need to be adopted so instead they can go in to long-term foster care.

Long Term Foster Care

Refugee Children

In the UK an ‘asylum seeker’ means a migrant who has or intends to go through the legal process to apply to be in the country to build a new life for themselves.

Fostering Asylum Seekers

WHAT IS UK Fostering?

Fostering Care is sharing the care of someone else’s child or children with the Local Authority and/or the birth parents. Most often the child returns home or moves on to independence in their late teens. As a UK foster carer, you don’t have legal ‘parental responsibility’ for the children you foster.

Foster Carer Vacancies

You can apply to be a Foster Carer in England, Scotland, Wales and NI. There are over 8,000 vacancies every year because of the growing need for foster placements and the loss of carers who retire or move on. If you are thinking of starting a new career working from home and have a passion for children’s safety and well being, Fostering could be for you

Eligibility Quiz

If you are unsure if you are eligible to Foster and you’d like to find out if you can apply, then please use our free Eligibility Quiz.

Contact Form

To find the Fostering Agencies with vacancies in your area, please use our Easy Contact Form, it just takes a couple of minutes, and you could be on the way to becoming a Foster Carer.

Informal Chat

For an informal chat please call us on:
0800 0305501

How to foster?

Find out how to be a foster carer here: How to foster.

Types Of Child Care.

Foster Care.

Most foster carers choose to be approved by their Agency for a range of placement types, such as siblings. It is very important that carers look after children who are well-matched with them and their family.

A recommendation about a new foster carer’s approval is made in the assessment report that is presented to the Fostering Panel.

If necessary, and with the foster parent’s agreement, a carer’s approval and types of care can be changed at any time by their agency.

Fostering in the UK is therefore the choice for most people who wish to have a part or full-time career working from home, and wanting to care for an open-ended number of children throughout their time as foster carers. Read about the criteria for fostering.

Private Fostering Arrangements.

A UK private foster parent is not a child’s parent or close relative who cares for a child under the age of 16, or under 18 if disabled, for 28 days or more in a private arrangement with the child’s parent. The parent remains responsible for any financial support during the child’s stay.

Private foster parents may be a cousin, great aunt, a friend, or someone unknown to the child. Immediate relatives such as grandparents, brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, and step-parents are not considered as Private Foster Carers.

How to make arrangements
Arrangements are made without the involvement of the Local Authority; they are usually made by the parents of the child or another adult or on some occasions by young people themselves.

If you are a parent and want your child to stay with another adult who is not a close relative or an approved foster carer for more than 28 days (private fostering), you must let your council social services know, at least two weeks before the date of the move, letting them know what you intend to do.

The following are examples of the type of children and young people that might be involved in Private Fostering Arrangements;

  • Arrangements made during parental illness or children living with other adults because their parent’s study or work involves long or unsociable hours.
  • Children staying with families whilst attending a school away from their home area or children from overseas whose parents are not resident in this country.
  • Young people who stay with friends because they have fallen out with their families.

The duty to notify your LA of a Private Fostering Arrangement;
Under the Children Act 1989 (part IX), there are a number of responsibilities designed to safeguard children that may be privately fostered. The key points are:

It is the responsibility of the parent, carer, and anyone else involved in making the arrangement, to notify the local council.

Upon notification, it is up to the LAs to satisfy themselves that the welfare of the children who are privately fostered in their area is safeguarded and promoted. They also have to satisfy themselves that private foster carers are suitable and also ensure that private foster carers receive any information that they may need to help them care for the child.

Why should a LA be made aware of Private UK Foster Care arrangements?

Safeguarding the child
Caring for a child is always a big responsibility, and the LA has a duty to oversee the arrangements to promote the welfare of the child and to ensure they are protected. It is important that the carer has a good understanding of the child’s needs. Safe Care Policy.

Read more about national Private Fostering and Foster Care UK here: Notification of Private Fostering – Gov UK.

Family and Friends/Kinship.

A child who is the responsibility of the local authority goes to live with someone they already know, which usually means a family member, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, or sisters.


Is a legal process by which all parental rights and responsibilities are permanently transferred to the adoptive parents by the court.

The child becomes part of the adoptive family as if they had been born into it and the child usually takes the family’s surname.

Adoption or Foster Care?

UK Wide Fostering Network

Try these: South WestDevonExeter

If you live in the UK… We’ve got you covered.
We cover the length and breadth of the UK with our unique Agency Network. Finding an Agency near you and supporting your move into foster caring.


free fostering handbook

Free Fostering Essentials Handbook

By contacting us you are entitled to the Simply Fostering Essentials Handbook, a wall to wall guide to fostering.

An A-Z comprehensive guide to a range of useful fostering terms. Essential reading for any newbie foster carer. Includes subjects as varied as:

  • Parental Responsibility
  • Managing Behaviour
  • Human Rights
  • Reviews
  • Eat Disorders

Form Only Takes A Minute To Complete.

The Best Start in Fostering

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