Commonly, when wanting to support the care system and open their home up to disadvantaged children, people will consider both fostering and adoption. These two services are both undeniably beneficial and have the potential to completely change the life of a child or young person for the better, yet they are actually very different. If you’re currently contemplating whether fostering or adoption would be right for you and your family at this moment in time, below we have looked into these two services in more detail. 

What is fostering?

Simply put, fostering is looking after a child or young person who has entered the care system, usually because they’re no longer able to live with their birth parents or family members. When you foster a child, you will often be referred to as a foster carer or a foster parent and you will provide a safe and secure environment for a vulnerable child to live in. 

More often than not, fostering is a short-term placement and foster children or young people will only stay in your care for a few days, weeks or months, however, long-term foster placements do exist. As a foster carer, the parental and legal responsibility for the children in your care remains with either the biological parents or local authority though. 

What is adoption?

On the contrary to fostering, adoption is a lifelong commitment where you assume the parenting responsibility for a child. When adopting a child, you will be providing them with a permanent home and you will essentially raise them as if they were your own. Adoptions also transfer all legal rights and filiation from the biological parents to the adoptive parents permanently. 

Why do people choose to foster?

When you decide to become a foster carer, you have the opportunity to help lots of children, rather than just one child. You will provide a loving home to vulnerable and disadvantaged children during some of the most difficult times in their lives, and although fostering a child is undeniably a huge commitment, it is incredibly rewarding. For many children, fostering is often their first positive experience of family life and you will be providing them with some normality. 

Commonly, foster carers will work with a fostering agency and they will receive comprehensive training throughout their fostering career. The agency will help you learn the skills you need to deal with the complex needs a foster child or young person may have and they will ensure that you always feel supported. Due to the fact that there are lots of different types of foster care placements, you can decide which type of foster carer you’d like to be as well.

It is actually fairly straightforward to foster in the UK and the assessment process usually takes around four months from start to finish. Almost anyone can foster too and there are only a few

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