What is fostering?

Fostering is providing a home for a child or young person who, for a range of reasons, cannot live with their birth parents.

There are some recurring reasons why a child may come into our care:

  • Their parents may have additional needs, such as mental health or substance misuse issues
  • There may be relationship problems or tensions at home.
  • There may be neglect or abuse in the home

Where possible, we work to keep a family unit together. We know it is where a child or young person thrives best. But sometimes this is simply not possible, which is why we need foster carers.

Sometimes a child is placed in foster care, often at short notice, for a few days, weeks or months so other professionals can work to rebuild and strengthen the family unit, in preparation for the return of the child.

In other cases, it is not possible for the child to return to their birth families and they will remain in long-term foster care until they are either adopted or are ready for independent living, which is usually aged 18 but sometimes older.

There are also foster carers who provide supported lodgings for older children in care who are getting ready to live independently but just need a hand with certain life skills (such as budgeting and cooking) and respite for families and other foster carers so they get a break.
Find out more about different ways to foster