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Glossary 2017-06-12T08:51:30+00:00

Foster Care Glossary


You may recognise some of the following words and phrases used when people talk about fostering. We thought it would be helpful to explain their meaning. If you’re still unsure or feel that anything is unclear, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Allowances and fees

These are provided to carers to cover living costs and to provide remuneration for the hard work that is put in. Fees and allowances are variable and take into consideration the context of individual cases.

Care Order

A Care Order may be granted if it is considered unsafe for a child to live at home.
Legal parental responsibility for the looked after child or young person is either  placed exclusively with the Local Authority or shared between the local authority and the child’s birth parents. The local authority takes responsibility for major decisions regarding the child or young person’s welfare and can place a child or young person with a foster carer registered with them, or with an IFA. They also look after who has contact with the child or young person.


Fostering provides a secure and caring home for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents.

Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA)

Swiis is an IFA and works in partnership with local authorities and health trusts to provide placements for looked after children and young people.

Local authorities

As legal guardians of looked after children and young people, local authorities have a network of their own foster carers and carers registered with IFAs, with whom they place children and young people.

Respite placements

Children living with foster carers may have short stays (typically a weekend or one to two weeks) with another foster family to give their main carers a break.

Sanctuary seeking children and young people

A Sanctuary Seeking child or young person is someone under 18 years of age who is separated from parents/family and is applying for asylum in their own right. Foster carers with this type of placement must respect cultural and religious beliefs held by Sanctuary Seeking children or young people.


Find out more about fostering in your area


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