Fostering is a way of providing support for the children who need it most. It gives them a safe, loving home to live in, and helps them to settle into their new lives. Let’s know in detail what is fostering?
On average, a foster child stays with their foster carer for just over two years. During this time, they have the same rights as any other child living at home – including the right to have fun, to be safe and secure and to have their own opinions listened to.
2000 children are fostered every year by members of the public. They are looked after by foster families or by social workers who come out of hours to look after them.
Being a foster carer is not only rewarding, but it can also offer you help with childcare costs if your local authority offers financial assistance to your family. Foster carers can also get help with childcare costs from the CFC if they are on certain benefits or have low incomes.
Foster carers provide a loving home environment with support. They make a real difference to the lives of children who cannot live at home safely because of abuse, neglect or other risks. Foster carers do this until they are well enough to return home or another permanent family member can take over the caring role permanently.
Foster carers can be relatives or friends of the child and their birth parent(s), or they can be unrelated adults – although these will usually have some prior connection with the child/children e.g. family friends, extended family members, colleagues of parents, etc.
Rules around fostering are strict, and you will have to undergo training before being allowed to foster on your own. As well as looking after a child, it is also a rewarding job that helps the local authority find loving homes for children who have no parents to care for them. Most fosters are children but there are some adults who need fostering too.
When you foster, you take on a child who has been taken into care by their local authority (LA). You will look after this child as if he or she were your own, giving them everything they need to grow up happy and healthy. This means providing them with food, clothing, somewhere clean and warm to sleep and toys and games to play with.
There are two types of fostering. Short-term fostering provides a home for a child or young person on an emergency basis. Long-term fostering makes provision for a child or young person in need of permanent placement with whoever is willing to provide a stable, caring home for them.
The children can be placed with relatives (kinship care), members of the same ethnic group (ethnic minority care) or other families approved by the local authority (non-kinship or non-ethnic minority care). Foster placements are usually made by social services departments working within local authorities but some private organisations also foster children in certain circumstances.