What is Foster Care?
Learn more about what it’s like to be a foster carer.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care involves parenting children and young people who need a safe place to live, either temporarily or permanently.
There are many reasons a young person may not be able to live with their parents or guardians, but the most common reasons are neglect and abuse (65%). This can include emotional, physical and sexual abuse, sometimes over a number of years.
To recover from past trauma and adverse childhood experiences, children need a secure base. Foster carers work closely with our supervising social workers, support workers and therapeutic practitioners to provide that secure base.
Although foster carers are responsible for parenting a young person, legal responsibility sits with the child’s local authority. This is one of the main differences between fostering and adoption.
2022 facts and figures about fostering in the UK
There are almost 56,000 children in foster care in the UK
Fewer than one in a hundred children are in foster care (less than 1%)
The number of children coming into foster care increased by 11% last year
We have an estimated shortage of over 8,000 foster carers across the UK
What is Foster Care Like?
Fostering is a life-changing experience. This is a hugely rewarding role, but it can also be a challenging one.
As a foster carer, you will be supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in your community and you must be physically and emotionally healthy.
You will also attend many professional meetings about the children in your care. Some of these meetings will discuss future plans for the child such as education, family contact or preparing for independence, and you must advocate strongly for the child’s best interests.
“Fostering like any job has its highs and lows. I would be wrong to say it’s all rosy, but the good days far out weight the not so good. I love the fact that I am living my dream and making a difference to the life of a young person. I would highly recommend it.”
Nicky, Foster Carer
As well as parenting, attending meetings and providing transport to/from school or other activities, foster carers must record their observations in a daily diary and report these to the agency.
These recordings are vital, especially when the local authority requires evidence of a child’s progress or other relevant information to help determine the child’s care plan.
Watch this short video and hear from foster carers first hand about what fostering is really like.