What is Fostering?
Local Authorities have hundreds of children in care (that is, children who are being looked after by the Local Authority). Children in care may be living:
- with foster parents
- with their parents at home under the supervision of social services
- in residential children’s homes
- in other residential settings such as schools or secure units.
Around 75% of children in care across England are being looked after by foster carers. So there is a huge demand for more foster carers. Over 7,000 new fostering families are needed in the UK in the next 12 months (The Fostering Network).
Foster carers provide a stable family life for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents at a particular point in their lives. Fostering allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment. The children and young people placed with foster carers are from a diverse range of backgrounds and will display different behaviour depending on their individual experiences and circumstances.
The most common reasons why children cannot live with their birth families include neglect, parent drug / alcohol lifestyle, domestic violence and parental poor mental health.
A foster carer works as part of a team of professionals to share the responsibility of caring for the child; legal parental responsibility remains with the birth parents and/or the Local Authority.