Foster care, sometimes also called family based care, is when a family welcome someone else’s child or children into their home on a temporary basis.
For a variety of reasons, children sometimes need to be looked after in an alternative family setting to their own. It may be that their parents are ill, or in prison, they may be having relationship problems or the strain of being a single parent has got too much. Sometimes the child or young person has been hurt, physically or emotionally, and the only way to deal with the situation is to remove the child completely.
The length of time children stay with a foster family can vary from day care, overnight stays and regular planned weekends or holiday stays, to weeks, months or several years. In most cases, the children will be able to return to their family and foster carers and social workers aim for this wherever possible. In a few cases this is not possible and some children may stay in foster care for several years or be placed for adoption.