There are many reasons why a child's birth family is unable to care for them. In some cases parents request that their children are looked after by us or agree when social care considers it necessary. In other cases, social workers may need to apply to the court for an order to safeguard children.
Some of the reasons include:
- parents unable to care for their children because of illness or mental health problems
- parents may have a drug or alcohol problem affecting their ability to care for their child
- a single parent may need to go into hospital and has no help or support available
- there may be a temporary breakdown in family relationships which affect the children
- the children may have suffered neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- parents of children with disabilities may sometimes find it difficult to cope and need a break from time to time
Wherever we can, we try to keep families together, but where this is not possible we need you, as a foster carer, to help us ensure that children live in safe, happy and supportive family settings, so these children can enjoy a stable and secure life.
Who needs fostering?
Babies and toddlers
Babies and toddlers usually need short term homes while they're at their most vulnerable. They might be returned to their family or live with you while they're waiting to be adopted.
Young children aged 4-12
This is a crucial time in a child's life. They need stability and routine, as well as help settling into school and building friendships.
As children are making the transition to adulthood, teenagers living in foster homes will continue to need stability, as well as clear boundaries and advice. They need the space to learn and make mistakes as they prepare for independent living. Helping them achieve their very best educationally is vital but also very rewarding as you share their successes.
Where possible, we try to keep brothers and sisters together. We therefore need foster carers who are able to look after sibling groups and can offer additional support to help you with this task.
Children with disabilities
Children with disabilities can be harder to place, as they will often need specific care and need more attention. Carers with a background of looking after children with similar needs is an advantage, but by no means a necessity.
Specialist fostering schemes
Parent and child fostering
Occasionally, we may need to assess someone's parenting ability. Your role as the foster carer will be to support and advise them in the care of their child, and contribute to the assessment of their ability to care safely for their child.
Specialist teenage fostering
Teenagers with extreme behaviour are usually placed in residential care. Your role as the carer will be to work with a group of specialists to help them turn their behaviour around and re-engage with the community while away from residential care homes.