What is Foster Care?


 Understanding the relationship between foster carers and children can help explain what is fostering or foster care?

What is Fostering or What is Foster Care?

Many people ask ‘What is fostering?’ or ‘What is foster care?’. According to the dictionary, the answer to ‘what is fostering?’ and ‘what is foster care?’ is:

  • To bring up (a child that is not one’s own by birth)
  • British (of a parent or authority) to assign (a child) to be brought up by someone other than its parents

But there’s so much more to it than that. Fostering is vital to the functioning of our society and to the welfare of our children and young people.

Fostering enables us to provide a secure family life to any child or young person who is unable to live with their parents, for whatever reason. With fostering, we give a child or young person a safe and caring environment for them to grow up in.

What is foster care?

Foster care can take many forms…

  • > A fostering placement may take the form of emergency foster care needed in special circumstances, short-term fostering, part-time fostering, or long-term fostering
  • > A fostering placement can last for a matter of days, months or years
  • > A placement may also offer respite foster care, foster care for a mother and baby or family foster care
  • > The age of those who are fostered varies, and can range from babies and toddlers, through to children, young people and teenagers.
  • > Fostering placements are also often sought for those with disabilities, or for asylum seekers and refugees

Still asking ‘What is foster care?’

Take a look at our pages on What do foster carers do? and Becoming a foster carer. Or to speak to us call us on 0845 057 3845 or complete our online inquiry form for further information.