Is becoming a foster carer / parent for you?

Is becoming a foster carer/ foster parent for you?

Fostering a child or fostering children (keeping siblings groups of brothers and sisters together) is open to more people than you might think.

You can become a foster carer or parent if you are single, married, in a civil partnership or in a long-term relationship.

Types of foster care

There are different types of foster care, depending on your circumstances.

Short-term fostering

Short-term fostering is about fostering children for a few days, weeks, months, or sometimes even years. It could be an emergency placement for a child or young person, or out-of-office hours usually for up to 72 hours.

Long-term fostering

Long-term fostering is about fostering children until they are at least 18 years old, where adoption is not possible or desirable for a particular child.

Respite fostering

Respite care is ideal for families, couples or single people who want to support fostering, but may not be able to take it on full-time. Respite is where you provide a short break for a child or care for a short amount of time. This could be for the day, overnight, for a weekend, or in some cases longer.

Parent and child fostering

The parent and child fostering scheme is about supporting young parents and their small children, while we complete an assessment of the parent's ability to care for their child.

Both the child and parent will live with you for 12 weeks (sometimes this can be longer). You will be a key person in their lives, providing guidance, and practical and emotional support. You will support the parent to build the confidence they need to help them continue to care for their child.

Intensive support fostering

This is about providing intensive support and care to children and young people who may display challenging behaviour or have complex needs. You may also provide a placement for young people who are in serious trouble with the police, and provide an alternative to being remanded in custody.

Intensive support respite

If you're interested in the intensive support fostering scheme but are unable to commit to this full time you could consider becoming an intensive support respite carer. This is about providing short breaks for children and intensive support foster carers for a day, overnight, a weekend or sometimes longer.

Supporting young people to independence 

You can choose to become approved as a foster carer to support young people aged 16 - 17 years, who are not ready to live independently and need guidance to prepare to leave care. You provide a room to a young person and offer practical and emotional support, helping them to build independence skills. 

Caring for children with disabilities

If you would like to support children with disabilities, we would also love to hear from you. We need foster carers to support children with additional needs, this could be for a few hours on a regular basis, to a weekend, or a few weeks. It could also involve shared care between the child's parents or a foster carer. 

Family and friends carers (connected persons)

Fostering can be provided by family or friends who offer a home to children or young people who are already known to them.

For more information read our guides below:

A young girl held by her foster father

What is the role of a foster carer?

As a foster carer, you'll typically be:

  • welcoming a young person to be part of your family
  • giving day-to-day care to meet their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social needs
  • setting suitable boundaries and routines
  • helping with schoolwork; you’ll need to have a positive attitude toward education
  • keeping young people safe
  • working with other professionals
  • putting forward the views of children in your care; sometimes you may find that you disagree but it’s important you can share their feelings positively
  • involving parents, where it’s possible and safe
  • helping the young person move on, in a positive way, to their next home or setting
  • completing some logs and reports by familiarising yourself with the foster carers recording policy

We know that being a foster carer can sometimes be emotionally demanding, so it’s important that you are willing to work with us if you are finding something difficult. We’ll be here to support you every step of the way and have a full package of support for you.

Interested? Request an information pack or a callback

Request an information pack

Telephone: 0300 300 8181

About our fostering serviceOfsted good provider


Our fostering service has been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

Our wonderfully diverse community of foster carers also agree that they are happy and proud to be part of Central Bedfordshire’s fostering team.

You can read our latest report on the Ofsted website.

Foster East logo

We’re part of Foster East, partnering with other councils in the south east to support foster carers and help children thrive.

Learn more about Foster East