What is fostering?

Children and young people need foster care for many reasons. Some parents have health related problems that prevent them from being able to care adequately for their children. Unfortunately others struggle because they did not have a good parenting experience and therefore find it very difficult to be a parent themselves. This can sometimes result in the abuse and neglect of children / young people. Other parents who have children with a disability need support to help care for them. Fostering provides these children / young people with alternative family care where they can feel valued, respected and cared for.

Fostering is generally for a limited period – whether it be for a week, a month, a year or more. In foster care, the legal responsibility for the child / young person is likely to be shared between birth parents and social services. However, day to day care is provided by the foster carer.

What these children and young people need is security, patience and understanding, to help them grow up to be responsible adults, living their lives to the full and being able to meet and cope with the challenges that face all of us at different stages in our lives.

A child / young person in foster care will have contact with their birth family. The ultimate goal for most children / young people in foster care is that they are able to return home at some point in the future.