There are thousands of children in need of a loving home. Through no fault of their own, they
are unable to live with their birth families. They can bring with them emotional baggage that
makes them difficult to reach. They can present behaviour which is challenging, even for the
most seasoned professional. And yet, every day, a foster child will wake up in a safe, caring
and protective foster family.
There is no denying how tough being a foster carer can be, just as there is no way to deny
the rewards that come with it. Reflecting on the good and the not-so- great, what do current
carers think are the main reasons to foster?
#1 You will be helping to shape the next generation
We all need to feel a sense of belonging and attachment. When you have the ‘basics’ in your
life, you are able to grow.
As a foster carer, you provide the stable foundation a child or young person needs. Your
actions are significant not only in the here and now, but the effects are long-lasting. How
amazing is it to think that you are helping to shape the lives of future generations?
#2 Make a difference to the community
It takes a village to raise a child is an African proverb. What this means is that the whole
village looks out for all children, ensuring they are safe and free from harm.
Fostering is a similar process. For example, it is now entirely possible that fostered children
will have positive contact with family members while enjoying a stable and loving foster
It is a modern day ‘village raising a child’, with foster carers making a real difference to their
#3 From ‘empty nest’ to ‘busy family’ home again!
Many carers come to fostering later in life, once their own children have grown and flown the
nest. Still having so much to offer, many parents train to become foster parents.
For some parents, an empty nest is difficult to live with. Empty bedrooms and quiet evenings
may have been what you once hankered after but now it’s here, the silence is deafening.
From a single child to a group of siblings, why not open your home and make a positive
impact on a child’s life?
#4 Enjoy the reward of their achievements and developments
Just like parenting your own children, the fostering journey can be tough. Children and
young people need time to adjust, lashing out at the unfairness of the world and the way it
has treated them. They may struggle with feeling abandoned or let down. They need time,
as well as space, and your understanding and patience.
You will feel tested at times, but the payoffs are enormous. The achievements of some foster
children, whether that is ‘star of the week’ at school or being picked to play for the team, are
They may lag behind their peers but, in the right foster home, where they are warm, safe and
loved, they soon flourish. And it is you, as a foster carer, which facilitates and supports them
to reach their potential.
#5 Children need you
One of the main reasons to foster is that there are babies, toddlers, children and young
people, all over the UK in need of a family and a home. 65,000 children live with 55,00 foster
families (2017 figures) in the UK, but more foster carers are needed.
The perception is that becoming a foster carer is hard, with limits and restrictions about who
can become a foster carer. But this isn’t the case. Just as the foster children and their needs
are diverse, foster carers and their skills need to be diverse too.
There are lots of children in need of safe, loving homes. Could you provide what they need?
Visit the Foster Care Associates website for more information on becoming a foster carer
and offering a child a loving home.