Foster a Child

Foster a Child – Could you foster?

Do you want to make a difference for children, and have energy and space in your life? If yes, we would love to have you in our team.

Let us guide you through the basics to foster a child.

Who can foster?

It’s not about your situation, it’s about the support you can offer a child. 

To foster a child it doesn’t matter that you are old or young, married or single, male or female, gay or straight, renting or a home owner.

Your personal circumstances

We work with foster parents from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, married, single or in a civil partnership, renting or a home owner; what matters most is your attitude to life.


You need:

  • to be over 21 (in some areas it’s 25). There is no upper age limit;
  • time (most of our carers are there full-time for the children and young people they foster, but we also need part-time carers to provide breaks over weekends, holidays and evenings);
  • a spare bedroom big enough to fit a single bed, chest of drawers and wardrobe.



You’ll need to have some past experience with children or young people, but you don’t need to be an expert.

Your experience might come from being a parent, or from spending time caring for children in your family. It could come from volunteering, or working with children or young people.


Fostering is challenging and takes a high level of commitment, patience and resilience. The children and young people placed with foster carers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and display a wide range of behaviours depending on their previous life experiences. Many have been faced with much uncertainty and distress throughout their lives and others have been neglected and/or abused.

Different types of fostering

Every child’s situation is different – so we offer different types of foster care to meet their needs.


Emergency fostering:

As the name suggests, this gives a child a safe place to stay for one or two nights at short notice when something unexpected happens.

Remand fostering:

When a young person is waiting for their case to return to court, they’ll sometimes stay with foster carers. These placements are short term.

Intensive fostering:

This is used as a secure accommodation and is very effective at turning around the lives of vulnerable young people and their families.

Youth justice:

A child or young person is sometimes fostered when they’re at risk of going to prison or secure accommodation. Fostering gives them emotional and behavioural support to help them understand what they’ve done wrong, and how to change their behaviour. These placements are short term.

Permanent/long-term fostering:

When a child or young person’s home situation is not likely to change quickly, they may need to stay with a foster carer for months or years. This can be until they’re ready and able to live independently.

Parent and child placements:

This is when parents need support and guidance in learning to care for their babies or young children. The parent lives with you, as well as the child, and you work with other professionals to see how they cope and help them develop as a parent.

Specialist placements:

Working with professionals, you’ll help young people who’ve been through early neglect, abuse or trauma, many moves in care, or placements that haven’t worked.

Short-term and time-limited fostering:

Sometimes we’re asked to temporarily look after a child coming into care for a specific reason, such as an ill parent.


Who needs fostering?

There are now more children than ever coming into care. Around 30,000 more children come into care over the course of 12 months. Around two-fifths of the children in care are aged 11 to 15, and finding people with the right skills to look after teenagers is now the top priority for fostering services.


What does fostering provide?

Fostering provides a safe, secure and nurturing family environment, either short – or long-term, and allows children to keep in contact with their own families if they wish.

Why do children come into care?

Children come into care for a whole range of reasons, including a family member’s short-term illness or a parent’s depression or drug or alcohol misuse. Some children may have been abused or neglected. Foster carers can give families a chance to sort out their problems by providing children with a home and supportive family for as long as they need.

What happens when a child is taken into care?

When a child is taken into care, the local authority becomes responsible for his or her welfare. Social workers then work with families to make the home a safe place for a child – with the aim that children and parents can be reunited.

Are you ready to foster?

There are currently thousands of children across London, Midlands and Southern Region – who, for many different reasons, cannot live with their birth families.

These children are much more likely to have suffered profound neglect and abuse, and they need to find stability with a foster care family, to develop a sense of belonging, clear boundaries and a consistent home environment.

But what really makes a difference to these children’s lives are foster carers who are able to help them recover and progress from their difficult early experiences.

Sunbeam Fostering is a fostering recruitment agency committed to recruiting carers from diverse communities to help these children.