Could you give a home to a vulnerable child when they need it most?  Fostering is about giving a child a safe, secure place to live for a few weeks, months or sometimes even years.  This is a really important role that can help to get a child through a difficult time.  Your empathy, commitment and support can make a huge difference and positive impact to their life – and to yours.

Every hour, three children come into care needing a foster family in the UK, and every day there are about 65,000 children living with 55,000 foster families.

Children come into care for many different reasons.  Sometimes it is because of a parent’s short-term illness or a temporary problem within the family that requires the children to have alternative care.  Some have experienced domestic violence or witnessed drug and alcohol misuse, others have been abused or neglected.  For many children and young people, fostering is often their first positive experience of family life.

There are many different types of fostering depending on the needs of the child.  Sometimes children only stay with a foster family for a few days, while others will live with their foster family for their entire childhood and beyond.

Fostering offers children a safe and caring family, usually geographically close to their home, while they are unable to live with their own, and provides an opportunity for other professionals to work with the birth family to help resolve their issues.

Local Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales have the ultimate responsibility to look after children and young people in care as their ‘corporate parent’.  They will directly recruit Foster Parents to care for children and young people, and independent fostering providers such as Flourish Fostering, will also recruit Foster Parents to provide fostering placements to these public authorities.

As a Foster Parent, a child in your care will remain the legal responsibility of the Local Authority and/or their birth parents and is different to adoption, where the legal rights of a child are permanently transferred to their adoptive parents.

Foster Parents in the UK are recruited, trained, assessed and approved to look after fostered children by a fostering service.  Think of them as childcare experts working as part of a wide multidisciplinary team of professionals, providing children with the highest standard of care and support.  Alongside this professionalism, they offer these children empathy, security, warmth and a positive experience of family life.

Whether it’s overnight or for a number of years, Foster Parents can provide the support, stability and care in a safe, loving environment every child needs.  Being a Foster Parent is not easy, but fostering can make a huge difference to the lives of children.

Not all children who come into care can return to live with their parents.  In these cases, the courts will decide the best option to make sure they are safe, stable and can grow throughout their childhood in a ‘permanent’ home.  There are a number of options for permanence including adoption and long-term fostering.

You can start your journey and find out more about what being a Foster Parent with Flourish Fostering involves.