Fostering is looking after children and young people who have been taken into care, in your home, making them feel a part of your family. Most of the time it is a temporary arrangement, while we work with the child's family to resolve the issues which led to them needing to be looked after by another family.
Some children are sadly unable to return to their birth families, so they may be adopted or placed with a foster family until they are 18 years old.
Read more about the different types of fostering we provide.
Often there is more than one reason why a child needs to go into foster care. Common reasons include:
Fostering provides a safe environment for children to be protected from abuse, neglect or lack of parenting without them losing the benefits of being part of a family.
In essence, foster carers provide a stable and nurturing home, ensuring that a child's physical, emotional and educational needs are met. Your role will vary according to the child's background and situation, including what they have been through in life.
A young child will need lots of practical, hands-on care, with babies needing full time supervision. A teenager on the other hand will benefit from more guidance and support to develop their confidence and nurture their independence skills.
What a child has experienced before coming into care is likely to have caused changes to their behaviour and even their appearance, and may have had an impact on their emotional development. This can be challenging for anyone looking after them. Foster carers who are resilient and patient will be able to help children work through their fears and anxieties and will see the rewards of them thriving and achieving their full potential.
Fostering can be demanding, and not everyone is well suited to it. However, it can also be one of the most worthwhile and life-changing things you do.
We will support you and you will be part of a professional team supporting the child in your care on their journey.
We welcome people from all backgrounds into our foster care team. You can apply:
You will need to be fit enough to cope with the daily demands of looking after a child. This might mean taking them to school, on day trips or holidays.
It takes some special skills to be a great foster carer:
If you see yourself in these descriptions, get in touch with us!
We will expect you to be honest, open and transparent during the assessment process, when you will be asked questions about your household, background and history. This will help us build a profile of you to make the best possible placement matches.
Following approval we will need you to:
We believe that children should be empowered and their voices heard. CLICK is a group of young people aged 13 to 18 who are looked after by Wandsworth Council. They represent and speak up on behalf of looked after children and young people to make a difference, positively influence decision making and shape the services they receive. Here are their 12 top tips for how foster carers can 'be there' for them: