About fostering

Fostering is looking after a child or young person who can’t live with their own family. There are a number of reasons they might not be able to live with their family and it can be a very difficult time for the child so they’ll needs lots of support and care.

There are around 3,500 families in the North West who foster for their local authority. Foster carers come from all walks of life and you can find out more about our foster carers here.

In the North West there are around 9,000 children living in foster care. We particularly need to recruit foster carers for certain groups of children including:

  • Brothers and sisters
  • Older children and young people
  • Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Children that will be in foster care long term
  • Children who need more specialist care

Types of fostering

Short term
Looking after children for a few weeks or months before they return to their families or plans can be made for their future.

Long term
Some children cannot return to their own families, so remaining with their foster carers on a long term basis gives them the care and stability they need.

Short breaks
When children who are disabled, have special needs or have behavioural difficulties stay regularly with a foster family while their parents or regular foster carers have a break. This is sometimes called 'respite' foster care.

When children need somewhere safe to stay for a short period of time, usually no more than a few days.

Foster to Adopt
Fostering for adoption is a temporary type of foster care which allows children to live with approved adopters who provided foster care and may go on to adopt them. Find out more about adopting in the North West here.

This route might not be right for everyone and there is a possibility that the court might not agree the adoption and the child might leave your care.

During the time you are a foster carer you’d be under the direct supervision of the local authority and you would not have parental responsibility for the child.

If you are considering this option you might want to think about what it might mean to you if a child left your care and what support networks you have in place to deal with this.

Specialist therapeutic
For children and young people with the most complex needs and behavioural difficulties some specially trained or experienced foster carers can provide placements that meet their needs. Local authorities have different programmes of training, support and pay for these types of carers.

‘Family and friends’ or ‘Kinship’
When children and young people are looked after by foster carers that they already know, usually a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other family member.