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Fostering Terms: What Does It Mean?

Making fostering terms manageable

As with all businesses fostering has lots of acronyms and terms which can at times be confusing to get your head around. We at Mosaic aim to make things as easy as possible for you, and helping to understand terminology is no different! Take a look at some of the terms and acronyms you may hear when enquiring to foster, during your foster journey and in common use at the agency.

Fostering terms you may hear

Below is a list of fostering terms you may hear during your journey to becoming a foster parent and beyond.

AGMAgency Decision MakerThe Panel will pass on their recommendations to the ADM who will make the final decision on your approval.
ARAnnual ReviewYou will have a yearly review which will enable you to continue to be a foster parent.
BAAFBritish Association for adoption and fostering (now known as CORAMBAAF)Find out more about corambaaf.
CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health ServiceLearn more about CAMHS.
EWMHSEmotional well-being and mental health servicesTake a look at this handy booklet.
CA 1989Childrens Act 1989 The Children Act is an act to promote the safeguarding of children.
CPDContinued Professional DevelopmentCPD courses aim to give foster parents more training in up-to-date practices and thinking.
CPRChild's Permanence ReportA report to plan for the future of the child.
CSEChild Sexual ExploitationLearn more about what CSE is.
TSDTraining Support and Development StandardsThe TSDS happens in your induction and provides a minimum benchmark of what you should know, understand and be able to offer to a child ahead of being approved to become a foster parent.
DBSDisclosure and Barring Service A background check which includes deciding whether it is suitable for you to work with children or vulnerable adults.
ICOInterim Care Order This can be a temporary court order at the start of care proceedings.
IRMIndependent Review MechanismThis is a review process that prospective or approved foster parents can access when they disagree with the ADM's qualifying determination letter.
IROIndependent Reviewing OfficerThe IRO is the person who is appointed to monitor the care the child is getting with their foster family including that their needs are met and that the care plan is being followed.
LALocal AuthorityThere are 333 local authorities in England made up of 5 types which are; county councils, district councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs.
LAC/CLALooked After Child/Child Looked AfterMosaic will use the phrase CLA- Child looked after. The child placed in your family. Other institutions could use LAC.
LADOLocal Authority Designated OfficerThe LADO will give advice and guidance to employers and organisations who have concerns about the behaviour of an adult who works with children and young people.
LSCBLocal Safeguarding Child BoardThe LSCB will safeguard and promote the welfare of children at a local level, coordinating local work.
NMS 2011National Minimum StandardsThe national minimum standards are there to make sure that the provision of care meets the assessed needs of the children and is fit for purpose.
PEPPersonal Education PlanThe PEP will be part of a young person's care plan and will relate to their education.
PRParental ResponsibilityThere are different responsibilities when fostering children, some of them will sit with you and in some cases, some will sit with the birth parents and local authority.
S20 AccommodationVoluntary accommodation under s20 of the Childrens ActWhereby a child or young person may be accommodated by the local authority where there is an agreement to this arrangement by those with Parental Responsibility (PR). The child becomes a foster child under this section 20 agreement.
S31 Care OrderAccommodation under Care OrderThe court can create a care order under Section 31(1) (a) of the Children Act. this places the child in the care of a designated local authority where the PR is shared between the parents and LA.
tFNThe Fostering NetworkThe Fostering Network provides advice and information to prospective and approved foster carers and those who support them on a range of issues which affect the foster carer role. Find out more here.
IFAIndependent Fostering AgencyThis is a fostering agency who is not part of a LA. Mosaic is an IFA for example.

Want to talk about fostering terms?

Hopefully this list will help you to know some of the everyday terms used in fostering. Thinking of being a foster parent and want to know more, Make an Enquiry today and we will be in touch or email us at

We are always happy to have a chat!  You can find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Mosaic Foster Care is a Private Ltd Company (reg no 07133494) providing fostering placements for children and young people to age 18.
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