Becoming a foster carer FAQ: Legal questions and the child’s individual needs

You may have many questions about fostering and have questions about legal issues. Here are some of the most frequently asked…

1. What is the difference between fostering children and adopting children?

When adopting a child, they become a permanent and legal part of your family.
Fostering is different. It usually means offering a temporary home to children until they return to their immediate family or move on to live with another relative or remain with you until they are independent.
In all cases however, you look after the child as though they are your own son or daughter.

2. What is the difference between a Foster Carer’s responsibilities and those of a parent?

Whilst Foster Carers have day-to-day responsibility for a child, they do not have legal rights over them.

3. Will I be told everything about the foster child?

Yes, we will share all the available information about the child’s history and behaviour.

4. Will I meet the foster child’s parents or family members?

Some children have  contact with their birth family, but others do not.
However, research shows that, if a child has contact with their family, it usually improves the stability of their foster placement.
If you do meet family members, it will usually be during these contact periods or at meetings.

5. What about the foster child’s cultural needs?

We try hard to place children with Foster Carers who share the same race, language, culture and dietary requirements – but if you are asked to look after a child from a different culture, we’ll support you in meeting their cultural needs.

6. What about schools? Where will my foster child go?

Foster children are normally placed with Foster Carers who live near their current school.

However, if it’s not practical for them to travel, younger children may transfer schools when they move into a long term foster home.


If your question wasn’t answered in our Frequently Asked Questions Index, please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help:

Phone us on 0800 121 6401 or email

We’re currently recruiting Foster Carers in Essex, London, and Suffolk