Foster Care Basics

What Is Foster Care and How Does It Work?

Introduction to Foster Care

Children in care come from all cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and age groups. They have often endured unhappy childhood experiences, and many have complex needs. The majority of looked after children live with foster families, but what is foster care and how does the foster care system work?
While most of us understand the basic concept of foster care, it’s an intricate service. If you are looking at it for the first time, this guide offers an introduction.
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Guide to Foster Care Basics

Let’s face it; foster care is a vast topic. Use this guide to strengthen your understanding.

What is Foster Care?

Part 1 - You will know that it’s about providing a home for some of the most vulnerable children in our society. But beyond this basic concept, what is foster care?

Types of Foster Care

Part 2 - Every fostered child has a unique set of circumstances and needs. So, it follows that there are different types of fostering. Here’s an outline of 10 popular types.

The Foster Care System

Part 3 - Planning and organising the care of looked after children isn’t straightforward. That’s why there’s a purposeful structure behind the service. Here's how the foster care system works.

Fostering Agencies

Part 4 - There are hundreds of fostering agencies across the UK, and they fall into three main categories. Learn about the critical role they play within the current system.

Children in Foster Care

Part 5 – When you hear about children in care, what kind of image does it conjure up? The truth is, there’s no typical type of foster child. So here are some of the facts about children who live with foster families.

Foster Care FAQ

Part 6 – If there’s something else you want to know, check our frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t featured, use our ‘ask the expert form’ – and we’ll be happy to provide the answer.

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Could You Foster a Child

More Information About Foster Care

Foster care is a vital intervention for many children who have experienced severe abuse and neglect, or children who can’t live with their biological parents for any other reason. But it’s far from an ideal service and is undoubtedly in need of reform.
If you want to look beyond foster care basics, join our fostering community. Free membership gives you access to a growing collection of resources. Ultimately, you’ll find insights into how care is delivered effectively to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society. How they can be made to feel safe, cared for, and valued – something every child deserves.
Guide for Prospective Carers
Use this guide to fostering as a starting point. It explains the following topics:

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