Fostering is parenting with a difference… Its super parenting.
It means giving a loving and stable home to children and young people who can't be looked after safely by their own parents or relatives.
You could foster children or young people, or even babies. It’s more likely that you’ll look after older children and young people with Changing Future Fostering. As a foster parent, you’ll get lots of expert training and support, including a generous allowance to cover your costs and meet the child or young person’s needs. Children and young people can be fostered for all sorts of reasons. All of them need a loving and supportive home where they can feel safe.
Some, but not all, of the children who need foster parents have had to deal with some really tough stuff, including neglect or emotional, sexual or physical abuse.
Many have had to leave the parents that they love against their will, to live in a new house with new people that they don't know or trust. This makes it very different from parenting your own children. They might not always welcome you with open arms at first, but they absolutely need your love, appropriate boundaries, and the stability you can give them.
Being a foster parent is one of the most rewarding and most special things you can ever do.
It can also be really tough. You will get lots of training and support to help you be the best foster parent you can be and to help the young people you foster to thrive and achieve their dreams. We've designed our training and support based on feedback from the experts - foster parents and young people who've been in care themselves.
Types of fostering-Our foster parents can offer different types of fostering depending on what they want, their skills and their circumstances.
Children might need short term fostering until their family are in a better place for them to return home, or until their needs are better understood and the best possible long term foster home can be found. As a short term foster parent you have a really important role in giving them the care and attention they need and helping them prepare to make a move to a long term placement or prepare to return home.
You might have a child living with you for anything from a day to a few years (although there isn’t a cap on the number of years).
Short term fostering is ideal for foster parents who might be able to commit to fostering young people for a set number of years, or fostering young people of certain ages – for instance people with loads of skills with older children, or people heading for retirement but who aren’t quite there yet!
Not every fostered child can or should go back home. Sometimes the best thing for them is that they make a new home with you. As a long term foster parent you’ll foster them until they’re young adults and are in a better place to take care of themselves. It’s a big commitment and hugely rewarding. If you foster a child long term, they become part of your family for the rest of your life.
If they’d like to, young people who are fostered long term should be able to stay on with foster parents after they turn 18 under ‘staying put’ arrangements.
Staying Put – Most children nowadays live with their parents after they turn 18. It’s especially important young people who’ve been looked after have the same chance. Staying put involves them staying in the foster home until they’re 21, or longer if they’re still in certain types of education.
Short Break Care – This is when a foster parent looks after a young person while their main foster parent takes a short break. It’s ideal for families, couples or single people. People who work can often be short break foster parents as short break care often takes place on weekends or over holidays.
Sibling Placements – This is fostering brothers and/or sisters together. Sometimes more than one child from the same family needs to go into foster care. That’s a big enough trauma for them, so unless it’s not in their best interests, local council and fostering agencies try really hard to provide them places in the same fostering house. All too often, this isn’t possible and brothers and sisters can be split up, especially if there’s lots of them.
If you’ve a large house with two or more spare bedrooms (or are willing to move into a larger house) you might be able to foster siblings together on a short term or long term basis.
Sometimes we get specialist placements that need some extra skills from foster parents or that might work in different ways. For instance, there might be a child or young person who needs a really high level of therapeutic care. There might be a mother and baby who need a home for a few months. We will look for foster parents with the skills to work in this specific area for these foster placements.
After reading this if you feel it’s something that you could do, we would love to hear from you. We know fostering is rewarding and can change the lives of children, young people and the people who look after them.
Ring us today and we will support you in starting your fostering journey with an informal chat and the opportunity to ask plenty of questions.