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Fostering Definition

Until you become a parent, you don’t know what being a parent is like although you grew up with a parent or parents. When you become a foster carer, it is the same way. Even if you already have a child, having a foster child may be a different experience. In other words, it is not easy to define what it means to foster.

What is fostering? What does foster care really mean? You might have a definition of foster care and what being a fosterer entails but it may not be the same as the definitions other have.

The UK has a long history of adoption and fostering where families took in other people’s children on a permanent or temporary basis although historically it was rather informal. Fostering only began to be regulated in the middle of the 1800s. Also known as “boarding out”, over time the legal aspect of fostering was transformed into what it is now with the checks and balances that ensure that the best interests of the child are protected.

You might say that fostering is how you bring up children and young people who need a safe home environment. You would be correct. You might say that foster care involves providing nurture to a child. You would also be correct.

If you look at the dictionary definitions of fostering you will see that it was used centuries ago to describe bringing up a child with parental care and to encourage or help grow. This is semantics, the language of our society and yet being able to nourish a child is at the root of what fostering is all about.


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As you learn more about foster care, you learn that it is all about the growth or development of foster children and young people who may have been denied the type of nurture or parental care that can cultivate and promote the growth and development of them into fulfilled adult lives.

Would you consider fostering? Ask yourself, what is fostering? What does it mean to you to take care of a child who is not related to you? A child who might only be in your life for a very short time?

Talk to someone who has fostered. Ask how it feels to be a mother or a father and provide support to a young person whose family was shattered beyond repair. Let them share their stories. The definition of fostering will become larger, wider, and deeper than the dictionary definitions.

A Short Definition of Fostering

To foster is to provide a family when it is needed. To foster is to nurture a child into having the best opportunities and most secure and stable lifestyle possible.

Contact Capstone Foster Care to learn more about how to become a foster carer. Capstone provides the assessment, training and support that builds a strong fostering team and brighter futures for the children in our care. If you are interested in learning more, contact Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.

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