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What is fostering?

Fostering means providing a safe, loving, nurturing home for children who are unable to live with their birth family. This could be on an emergency, short- or long-term basis. It may be because their parents need help and support through a difficult time; the child or young person is experiencing difficulties that their parents feel unable to manage; or it is unsafe for the child to remain at home due to neglect or abuse.


Although each child is individual and their story different, they will inevitably all have experienced loss and separation and need support to help them manage this.

Foster carers can specialise in different types of fostering, including caring for children with disabilities, unaccompanied asylum seekers and parent and child. You can find more details about this in the types of fostering section.

What does a Foster Carer do?

Working in partnership

Foster carers work alongside social workers, other professionals and birth families to gain the best possible outcomes for children.

Being a family

Children live with Foster Carers and the rest of their household as part of their family. Carers are expected to do the usual day-to-day parenting tasks, ensuring they provide a safe and loving home for those in their care.

Providing support

Foster carers support children’s educational, health and social wellbeing – attending school and doctor's appointments, buying clothes and helping them with their homework. They also attend meetings about the child, keep records of their stay with them and sometimes help facilitate meetings with birth families.

Quality support

West Sussex Foster Carers are supported by locally based, highly trained, dedicated social workers. They receive an allowance and additional fee which not only covers the cost of caring for a child, but also recognises the important role they are playing in the lives of young people.

Please see our training and support and pay and allowances sections for details on the comprehensive support package available to our Foster Carers.

Professional support and competitive pay

Thinking of becoming a Foster Carer?

Do you want to make a difference to a child in West Sussex? Could you provide a safe, secure and loving environment and help them through a challenging time in their lives? Do you have a spare room? If the answer is yes, we'd love to hear from you.
information sessions

Looking to learn more about becoming a Foster Carer?

Come along to one of our online or in-person information sessions