Foster Care Definition

What Does Foster Care Mean?

The Oxford Dictionary and other dictionary sites define fostering or foster parenting as ‘temporary custody or guardianship for children whose parents (…) are unable to look after them.’

There are many reasons why a child or young person may not be able to live with their birth family, including neglect, abuse, parental illness, police involvement or family breakdown.

This is where our brilliant foster carers step in. Our foster families provide our children and young people with an environment within which they can thrive. For us at Compass, this is the true meaning of fostering; to provide vulnerable children and young people with the love, care and support they need to improve their outcomes and succeed.

Some fostering arrangements are only for a temporary period of time, while the issues that placed the child into foster care are resolved. However, children and young people may also stay living with their foster family for many years. It all depends on their individual needs and circumstances.

The Role of a Foster Carer

Fostering can be an incredibly fulfilling career. As a foster carer, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to the life of a child of young person.

We like to say that the role of a foster carer is to wear many hats. Alongside the day-to-day care of children and young people, foster carers also have some other key responsibilities, such as:

  • Acting as a role model
  • Teaching them everyday tools and skills, such as cooking
  • Making sure they regularly attend school and are supported in their learning
  • Providing them with new experiences, like holidays and activities
  • Supporting their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Keeping track of their progress and achievements in records
  • Encouraging safe, positive contact with their birth family where appropriate
Why Foster Care

There is currently a national shortage of foster carers.

Help provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child or young person.

This is often a temporary arrangement, and many fostered children return to their birth families once the problems that caused them to come into foster care have been resolved. Sometimes however, they may stay living with their foster family for many years as it is the best place for them to be.

0 %
of children looked after live with foster carers.

Gov.uk children’s social care questionnaires 2023.

0 k
children are in foster care in England & Wales.

Via Fostering Network, 2022.

0 %
of foster parents have cared for more than 10 different youngsters.

Join thousands of foster families around the country

Everyone’s experience with fostering is different. That’s why foster care is so vital, we can enable each individual child is found the most suitable foster family for them.

Is Fostering Right for Me?

Hear about fostering experiences from existing foster carers and why they foster. They answer some of our most frequently asked questions – including the most important skills for foster carers to have.

Registration Process

Our 6-step overview of the fostering application process.

If you’re ready to start fostering with Compass, you might be wondering what your next steps are. That’s why we have broken down our fostering process into 6 simple steps. 

Fostering Requirements

We look for potential. Not perfection.

As long as you match the basic criteria for fostering in the UK, you can apply to become a foster carer with Compass. We pride ourselves on having an array of carers from diverse and unique backgrounds.

Become a Foster Parent

Your fostering journey with us begins with a conversation. Start your journey today.

About Compass

We pride ourselves in being big enough to support, small enough to care.

Request a Brochure

Learn all there is to know about foster care and the benefits of joining Compass.

Call to Action

We Look For Potential. Not Perfection.

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We Look For Potential. Not Perfection.

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We Look For Potential. Not Perfection.

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