Fostering a child

Could you foster a child? The Supernanny website brings you the basic facts to consider before making this important decision.

Have you got what it takes to foster a child?

Looking after children who are away from their families can be a challenging yet rewarding role. To help you decide if fostering is right for you, the Supernanny team has some basic facts to consider. This is not a definitive list, and you should speak to the relevant fostering organisations in your community (see 'Find out more' below) before making your decision.

  • Fostering is not the same as adoption. Unlike adoption where you become the legal guardian of a child, fostering involves caring for a child for a matter of weeks – or maybe several years.
  • You will undergo screening and training before you can start fostering. Carers need specific skills and abilities to help children deal with some of the more challenging issues, and parents are expected to maintain high standards whilst children are in their care.
  • Foster parents receive some financial benefits in return for the care they give, but groups are lobbying the government to see foster parents given a proper wage, and all this entails.
  • When choosing a foster family, authorities aim to match families with their foster children as much as possible. Families are also selected by geographical location – as near as possible to the child’s home – so ask your local authority about the fostering needs in your borough.
  • If the going gets rough, you won’t be alone – all foster parents have both a support worker and a social worker allocated to their case, so there’s always an experienced person to turn to.

Find out more

  • Your first stop could be somewhere like the Fostering information line, which has basic information for all would-be foster parents.
  • The Fostering Network is a leading UK charity for anyone with a personal or professional interest in fostering.
  • The British Association for Adoption and Fostering raises awareness and develops standards for adoption and fostering. It runs the successful Be May Parent newspaper which aims to find families for 'hard to place children'.
  •  FosterTalk is an independent company providing professional support, advice and preferential pricing arrangements to foster carers nationwide.
  • Parents for Children finds families for ‘hard to place’ children, such as disabled, abused or culturally diverse children. 

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