Your Guide to Fostering for the First Time


Fostering a child in need is one of the most rewarding and selfless actions you can take. There are many different reasons why a young person might need to be fostered. These range from illness in the family or family breakdown to situations of neglect and abuse. Whatever their background, by providing care and a stable home, you can make a genuine difference to a child’s life. Interested in finding out more? Here’s a quick guide to fostering for the first time.

What is fostering?

Let’s start with the basics. Fostering is a situation in which you care for a young person who is not your biological child. They live in your home with you, and you provide a safe and supportive environment in which they can thrive. It’s similar to adoption, except fostering is usually a temporary arrangement, and you do not have full parental rights and responsibilities over the child in question.

There are many different types of foster care, including:

  • Short-term fostering – where you temporarily foster a child when their family is unable to look after them (for example, due to illness).
  • Long-term fostering – where you provide a home for a child until they reach adulthood.
  • Emergency fostering – providing care for a child in an emergency situation at very short notice.
  • Respite fostering – this involves looking after a child on a very short-term basis (for example, a few days to a week) to give their birth parents or foster family a break.
  • Fostering placements for disabled children – where you care for a child with physical or mental disabilities.
  • Fostering for sanctuary-seeking children – where you foster a child who is seeking asylum after fleeing their home country (for example, due to war).

Who is eligible to become a foster parent?

Some people have the impression that you have to meet all sorts of tricky requirements in order to foster a child. However, in the UK, anyone who is over 21 years of age and has a spare bedroom can apply to become a foster parent. There are no restrictions in terms of your gender, ethnicity, relationship status or sexual orientation. Likewise, you don’t need to have any childcare experience or special qualifications.

The most important factor that fostering agencies in Luton and other cities are looking out for is that you are 100% committed to being a fantastic foster parent. The role can be a difficult one at times because many children who need fostering have experienced some form of trauma in their life. Therefore, you’ll need plenty of patience, positivity, energy, resilience and adaptability in order to provide them with the best possible home and the support they need.

What support will I receive?

Your fostering agency will provide you with all the necessary support to help you succeed as a foster parent. This includes plenty of training on the role and how to care for children, as well as emergency first aid and health and safety issues. You’ll be able to attend all sorts of local and national events and activities with your family, plus have access to advice whenever you need it. So if fostering is something you’re interested in, why not apply today? You won’t regret it!

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