About fostering

What is fostering?

Fostering is when you look after someone else’s child in your own home for a certain period. It can be short-term or long-term fostering.

In addition to providing a safe and stable home for children, you will have to love and nurture them. It is also important that you build a strong positive relationship with the children in your care, based on good communication and trust.

Children come into care from a range of backgrounds and they all have different needs. To help them, you need to be understanding, open-minded and inclusive, and always willing to look past their actions to understand their behaviour. Fostering may be challenging at times, but we are on hand to advise and support you throughout your journey so that you can help local children.

Sign up for one of our information evenings  or read our inspiring fostering stories.

Types of foster care

Short term fostering

This can range from providing overnight care up to a period of several days, weeks, months and even years, depending on the child’s situation. You should expect to have a temporary relationship with the child and also be prepared to care for plenty of children. As a short-term foster carer you may also provide emergency overnight, and respite care depending on your skills, experience, and availability.

Long term fostering

This is a more committed arrangement where children are placed with you until they turn 18 or are ready to live independently. Sometimes, some children may wish to continue living with you even after they are 18. If you agree to this, the placement can be extended for a specific period under Staying Put arrangements. 

Connected Person fostering

Formerly known as kinship care, this is an alternative to normal fostering or adoption. Connected Person fostering is a legal arrangement where a child who cannot be cared for by their parents, is looked after by a relative, family friend or any other person with a connection to the child in a personal or professional capacity.

Read more about Connected Person fostering.

Private fostering

Private fostering is when you look after a child under the age of 16 (18 if the child has a disability) and the child is not a close relative e.g a grandchild, niece, nephew, sibling (half or full) or step-child and is in your care for more than 28 consecutive days.

Read more about private fostering

Download our Private Fostering information booklet

Download our easy read Private Fostering booklet