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Foster care is the placing of young people under temporary or long term guardianship with approved and certified couples or individuals, who have been deemed safe, responsible, and have undergone various checks while being approved by a local authority or an independent fostering agency to take in a single child or siblings.

For the thousands of children who find themselves living in foster care every year, the family that they are placed with can have all the difference in how they adjust, adapt, and thrive. While most of the young people who end up in foster homes are vulnerable, each brings their own story, their own challenges and fears, and their own individual needs – and it is the job of our foster carers to be there to nurture and show these children love, regardless of their past.

Fostering is, in essence, a system through which we can place any young person with couples or individuals who have undergone various checks and been approved by us – deemed safe and responsible to take in a single child or siblings. The more families and potential foster carers we can partner with, the greater our chance of making sure that every vulnerable child finds the right home for them – for as long as they need it.

The fostering process

The first thing to understand about fostering and the process of a fostering agency is that, where possible, we will try to match children with foster parents in the right geographical area for them. For some, that might mean finding adopted parents who are close to their birth family; for others it might be a placement that enables them to remain in the same school and hold onto as much consistency in their routine as possible.

Here at Blue Sky Fostering, our team operates across Kent, Hampshire, Sussex, and Devon – supporting both young people and foster carers in the Southeast and Southwest of England.
The fostering process begins when a child or teenager can no longer live with their birth parents. There are many reasons why this might happen, and as such there is no set timeline for any single foster placement. Some placements last for days, weeks or months, others for years – it depends on the child, their needs, and the situation through which they find themselves needing foster care.

Local authorities and governments oversee the foster care system in England and across the South as well as across the entire UK. They then outsource the foster placements to independent providers such as Blue Sky Fostering, allowing us to create and nurture direct relationships with our community of local foster carers to provide the very best support and guidance.
What does that mean for you? It means that every step of the process involves us, so you will always have a friendly face to turn to if you need support or help when integrating a foster child into your family life.

What does a foster carer have to do?

As a foster carer, there is a high chance that your home is the first place where a child will feel safe and welcome in a long time. So many children who end up in foster care have suffered from some form of psychological or physical abuse, and so integrating them into a new home can be challenging.

But with every challenge comes its rewards. Being a foster carer is a legal responsibility, which gives you a unique position in helping to shape the future of a young person – working with them to find out their dreams, uncover their skills, nurture their hobbies, and inspire their future.

Just some of the roles our foster carers take on in the lives of young people include:

  • Substitute parents
  • Educators
  • Skill developers
  • Heroes

How old are foster children?

There is no set age that children and young people enter the foster care system. As a foster carer, you will be invited to discover the different types of fostering available to you and go from there – with the fostering categories including the chance to take in siblings, foster teenagers, foster younger children, and undergo specific training to open your home to traumatised young people.

No matter which type of fostering is for you, our team of social workers and foster support staff at Blue Sky Fostering are here to make sure that you feel well supported and become a vital member of our family of foster carers. Our support begins when you get in touch, and will guide you through the fostering assessment and all the way through to placement and beyond.

The more support we can give to each other, the better our chances of giving vulnerable young people a better start in life.

To learn more about our foster care system and how you can help children across the South of England, get in touch with us or visit our individual location pages to find out exactly what kind of difference you could make.

“Fostering is everything you expect it to be, and so much more.”

– Kevin, Blue Sky Foster Carer