01481 223182 familyplacementservice@gov.gg

Foster Care

Sometimes children and young people are unable to live with their own family and they need to be looked after by approved foster carers.   As a foster carer, you will care for children and young people in your home for a period of time until they can return to their own family.  However, if this is not in their best interest, they may move to other foster carers, be adopted, or remain with you until they can live independently.  The length of time a child will be in foster care ranges from overnight to several months or several years.

If fostering is something that's peaked your interest and you want to know a little more, we have some further information below to give you an overview of what it's all about.   

  • Why do some children need fostering?

    • There are many reasons why a child or young person is fostered and cannot live with their parents or extended family for a period of time.  It could be due to an illness of a parent where emergency care is needed, the child may have been subject to abuse or neglect, there may be domestic violence in the home, parental drug and alcohol misuse, physical or mental health issues, breakdown of family relationships or extenuating circumstances where parents may feel unable to cope.

  • What kinds of things can I expect from children and young people I am looking after? 

    • Each childs circumstances are different but every child will have faced loss and separation from their birth family which in itself is traumatic, alongside possibly other experiences of trauma in their past.

      Often children and young people will blame themselves for what has happened to them and they may feel lonely, confused and isolated.  Their life experiences can cause children and young people in care to express their feelings through behaviours that we can sometimes find difficult or challenging.  Some behaviours you may see include emotional outbursts, aggression, pushing away your attempts to care for them, withdrawal into themselves, clinginess and acting younger than their years.

  • Are there different types of fostering I can do? 

    • Short term foster care can last for anything from a number of days or weeks to up to a couple of years.   All children who come into foster care will initially be placed with short term foster carers and this enables the Service to carry out assessments of whether a child can go home or draw up a longer-term plan for their upbringing.  

      Long term foster care is considered when decisions have been made that a child or young person is not able to return to live with their own families and will need to remain in care.  This will often last until adulthood or even beyond in a Staying Put Arrangement which we continue to support until young people reach the age of 21 or finish their education. 

      Respite foster carers look after children and young people for anywhere from a few hours to weeks to provide support to foster carers with full time placements. This enables full time foster carers to have a break so they can maintain their care for the child or young person.  

      Specialist fostering is one of the most challenging types of foster care but it is also one of the most rewarding.  In this type of placement you will have the skills and experience to look after children and young people with complex additional needs or disabilities and children and young people whose early experiences of trauma have meant they require specialised therapeutic parenting.

      Kinship care is when you provide long term care for a child or young person, who is known to you already, who has for whatever reason become looked after by the Committee for Health and Social Care.  This could be the child of a family friend but they cannot be an extended family member. 

  • Who can become a foster carer? 

    • We welcome foster carers of all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicity, religions and backgrounds.  You can foster as a single person or in a couple, in rented accommodation or your own home, whether married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting.  You can also foster whether or not you already have children.  

      You do however need to be at least 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom and be available to transport children to and from nursery/school and to contact arrangements with family. You will also need to be able to care for children after school and in school holidays and attend meetings and appointments during working hours as required. If you work we will need to discuss your working arrangements with you so that we can consider the best type of fostering for you. Foster carers who work full time could consider respite fostering or short break care or fostering an older teenager.   

      You will not be able to foster if you have committed offences against children or you have certain recent convictions but if this is a concern of yours please contact us to discuss this further.

  • What skills and qualities do I need to foster? 

    • As a foster carer you will provide more than just the day-to-day care for children and young people.  Many fostered children have been through traumatic experiences and this can be expressed in various different ways through their behaviours.  Part of your role, with help from the team around the child or young person, will be in understanding how trauma may have impacted on them as well as having a nurturing, patient, flexible, consistent and open approach to supporting them.    

      It's important that, as a foster carer, you understand that the things going on for children and young people in your care are not a reflection on you and it is in fact their way of trying to tell you what's happening for them.  You're there to help the child or young person in your care feel secure, safe and cared for.  Our different services and professionals are here to do the same for you and will support you in developing and adapting the skills you need to best meet their needs.

  • What training and support will I receive as a foster carer?

    • We offer a wide range of support and training to you as you move through the application process and after you have been approved as a foster carer.   This includes the mandatory 'Skills to Foster' course which is a preparation course for prospective foster carers, ongoing training sessions, alongside regular support provided from your own supervising social worker and other professionals, support groups and the Guernsey Foster Care and Adoption Association.  There is also financial support to you through an allowance to cover day to day care needs and a skills based payment as you work through the skill levels for foster carers. 
    • If you'd like to know more about the support and training we offer our foster carers, please check out our Community and Support Page
  • How do I become a foster carer?

    • Please take a look here to see the process for becoming a foster carer.

Contact Us

Tel: +44(0) 1481 223182



St Peter Port 

Guernsey GY1 1FB

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