What is Foster Care?
Foster care is when someone other than a birth parent steps into the parental role after the local authority removes the child from the family home. A foster parent provides a home for children in care who cannot live with their birth families, and who have been removed under a court order because their living conditions were not working. In the United Kingdom, there are about 70,000 children who have been taken into care. More than 60% of the time, they are in care because of abuse or neglect.
Foster carers are registered with either an approved independent fostering agency like Capstone Foster Care or by a local authority. Most local authorities in England have their own foster carers, but over the last ten years, more and more foster children are looked after by carers registered with fostering agencies. This year, nearly half of all new foster placements will be made with fostering agencies. Most new carers choose to join private agencies rather than a local authority because the support and training provided by agencies like Capstone Foster Care is generally better than that provided by Local Authorities.
There is no set pattern to foster care placements. It might begin as an emergency and temporary response when children are taken into foster care. If the home situation has improved, children in foster care are returned to their parents. Children are sometimes taken back into care when the home situation does not work out. Sometimes, a foster child is unable to return to his or her birth parents and is placed in long term foster care or placed for adoption and the birth parents lose their legal rights as parents.
There are many types of foster care and the average length of a foster placement is around 18 months. Some children need foster care in the short term, which can turn into permanent care. Children and young people who have been placed in foster care were often neglected to the point where their physical or emotional health suffered.
They may have learning disabilities, behavioural difficulties, or physical disabilities and these children would need special care.
All children deserve a safe place to live. There are never enough homes for the kids in the foster care system. Foster carers are part of a team along with a social worker and Capstone’s staff of experts. If a child is in care while waiting to be adopted, the foster parents help in that transition. Sometimes foster carers adopt the child. The important aspect is that there are enough families to provide a caring home that can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.
Do you have experience or interest in providing a family life for children? Have you ever thought about whether you should become a foster carer? If so, contact Capstone Foster Care to discuss the assessment process.
Capstone Foster Care can be contacted on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.