Providing a safe and secure environment

Children and young people enter the care system when they are unable to live with their birth parents or family members, which can be a result of various different circumstances. In some cases, parents of children with special needs might be unable to care for their child, so foster carers might take over. 

A child may also enter care as a result of instability within the home due to illness, incarceration, or death of a child’s previous carers. Or, in many cases, the child has been exposed to some type of abuse or neglect, or some other form of inappropriate behaviour.  

As a result of these difficult circumstances, foster children are often particularly vulnerable, which is why the role of foster carers is so important. Foster carers are responsible for providing a safe home for these children, for anywhere from a few days to several years depending on the type of placement.

Foster girl on ropes in adventure park

I am so happy with my foster carers. I moved from another foster home, where I was really unhappy, as the foster carer didn’t seem to want me there. Pete and Liz really care for me and help me with all of my problems

Anya from Dunstable

Each fostering placement is distinctive

Foster mum with happy girl at home

Placement Types

There are lots of different types of foster care placement, to cater for the varying needs of children in the care system. Some are very short-term, often lasting a few days to a few months.

Long-term placements also exist, which might go on for up to several years. Different types of placement also exist for children with more complex needs. Have a look at our placement types page to find out more.

Foster boy playing rugby

Fostering vs Adoption

The main difference between foster care and adoption is the temporary nature of foster care. As a foster carer you temporarily take on the role of a carer to the child, but this is not considered to be as permanent as adoption and is not a legally binding parental relationship.

Long-term fostering placements have some similarities, where a child might be under the care of foster parents until adulthood, however the parental responsibility may still be in the hands of the local authority and the child’s birth parents.

Foster children safe in the back of a car

Training and Support

Looking after a young person who may have come from a troubled home in the past can be challenging. That’s why foster carers undergo comprehensive training throughout their fostering career, to learn skills and gain knowledge which will enable them to better deal with the more complex needs a foster child may have.

At Fostering UK, our carers receive the very best foster carer support and therapeutic training. Please take a look at our Fostering Support page to find out more.

If you would like an informal chat about becoming a foster carer, call Fostering UK in confidence on:

0333 044 8890

Or send us a message 

“I have been working much better at school, now I am able to concentrate on the work.”

Anya (8) from Peterborough

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