What is Fostering? Fostering Explained

Fostering provides a secure and caring home for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth family by placing them with foster carers.

Foster children sharing chair

Why is Foster Care Needed?

There are many reasons a child may need to be fostered. Parents who are experiencing uncertainty, such as physical or mental health issues, drug addiction, or financial difficulties, may have to place their children in temporary care.

Other children require longer-term care because of serious neglect and abuse. Parents of children with a disability may need extra help to care for them.

The Role of a Foster Carer

When birth parents are unable to care for their children, foster carers (sometimes known as foster parents) provide them with a safe and caring home.

As a foster carer, you will provide day-to-day care, support your fostered children’s educational needs and take care of both their physical and mental well-being.

You will also have to keep records, attend regular meetings and keep up to date with your foster carer skills through courses.

Is Fostering a Paid Job?

Yes, being a foster carer is considered an incredibly rewarding career, both emotionally and financially.

With Swiis, you could earn up to £503 per week for one child and up to £1,006 for two unrelated children. The UK Government also allows generous tax relief for foster carers. Find out more about fostering pay and allowances on our website or try our pay and tax calculator.

What types of fostering are there?

Due to the various and complex needs of children requiring care, there are various placement types. These include short-term, long-term, respite/short-break, disability and parent and child.

Short-Term Fostering

Short-term fostering refers to children who are looked after temporarily. Placements can last anywhere from one night to several months.

Long-Term Fostering

A long-term fostering placement means that a child or young person is with their foster carer for several years up until adulthood.

Short Break and Respite Fostering

Respite means caring for a child or young person on a short-term basis which can range from anywhere to a single night, weekend, up to a couple of weeks.

Other Types of Fostering

  • Siblings – A placement of two or more children that are siblings.
  • Parent and Child – Helping to keep a young family together by taking on the placement of a parent and child.
  • Disability Care – Fostering a child with medical conditions or learning disabilities.
  • Emergency and Unplanned – A placement where a child needs a home urgently with little prior warning.

What is an Independent Fostering Agency?

An independent fostering agency is a privately owned organisation that works in partnership with the Local Authority to provide placements for children and young people.

Swiis Foster Care is the largest, family-owned, independent fostering agency in the UK with local teams in the South West, Midlands, North East, North West and Yorkshire. Our sister company Swiis Foster Care Scotland provides foster care services throughout Scotland.

Independent fostering agencies are regulated by Ofsted in England and by the Care Inspectorate in Scotland.

Swiis Foster Care is proud to have been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for our North West, Yorkshire, and Midlands and South services, with a ‘Good’ rating in the North East.

Can I Foster?

Foster carers come from all walks of life and Swiis welcomes applications from a variety of backgrounds including single people, same-sex couples, those who rent their homes, non-parents and those over the age of 65.

As a minimum, you will need to be over 21 years of age, be medically fit to work, be a British citizen or have indefinite leave to remain, and have a spare room within your home.

How do I become a Foster Carer?

The first step to becoming a foster carer is to fill out an enquiry form on our website. Once we’ve received your enquiry, a member of our team will be in contact with you to arrange a telephone assessment.

For over 80% of our carer applicants, the formal assessment process takes between 12 and 16 weeks to complete. However, you can proceed at your own pace and we will adapt the process to your specific needs.

Hear from our Foster Carers

Swiis foster carer Jane has been fostering with us for over 14 years. After donating to Children in Need, Jane decided that she wanted to do more to help some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

Listen to her story or read more stories from Swiis Foster carers.

How will fostering affect my family

How will fostering affect my family?

The children of foster carers play an integral role in the whole fostering experience – helping others to settle and forming important relationships. Swiis are there for your whole family when you make the decision to foster, with guides, events and videos to support your children.

Start Your Fostering Journey

With thousands of children coming into foster care in the UK everyday, we urgently need foster carers more than ever.

Father and foster child fishing

Refer a Friend

Do you know anyone who would be a fantastic foster carer who has the skills and compassion to support a child or young person in need of a loving home?

Boys celebrating soccer goal