Foster carers provide a safe and nurturing home environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents or family members.

Every child's circumstance is unique to them and they may need your support for different lengths of time. 

If you are thinking of becoming a foster carer, consider your current circumstances and your transferable skills. These will be explored during the assessment process to consider the type of fostering that would best suit you. 

Short term fostering could involve:

  • having children aged 0 to 18 years (or up to 24 if still in education) live with you full time
  • looking after a child until long term plans are made
  • anything from one overnight stay to a stay of up to 3 years

Long term fostering involves:

  • looking after children who can't return to their birth families
  • caring for the child until they are 18 or up to 24 if still in education

Short breaks involves looking after children who are supported by our 0 to 25 Disability Team. They could have:

  • higher and more challenging needs
  • learning, behavioural, disability and/or complex medical needs

Respite care involves supporting other foster carers by:

  • caring for a child in your home to give parents or foster carers a short break
  • offering full-time carers and specialist carers support
  • looking after their foster child for an agreed period of time

Parent and child fostering provides birth parent(s) and their baby or young child a home together whilst decisions are being made in court.

The role of the foster carer could involve:

  • encouraging the birth parent to develop their own skills
  • occasionally looking after the child
  • observing the birth parents' care of the child and keeping detailed records

Often people believe that this type of fostering is for young teenage mums who are in need of nurture and support. In reality, these placements could be for a mother, father, or both parents of all ages who have had children removed from their care previously and could be experiencing a number of difficulties.

An assessment to become a supported lodgings provider is a scheme that provides young people with semi-independent care.

As you will not be a foster carer you can maintain your employment.

An assessment to become a supported lodgings provider can be completed within two months.

Supported lodgings providers involves:

  • accommodating young people between 16 and 24 who have been in foster care
  • offering them a room in your home
  • giving them advice and guidance whilst they prepare to enter independence
  • helping them develop life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and money management

Private fostering is a private arrangement agreed by the child’s parents.

Private fostering could involve:

  • caring for a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability)
  • a child living with a carer that is not a parent or close relative
  • caring and housing a child for more than 28 days on a full time basis

Find out more about private fostering