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Fostering, adoption and short break care

adoption family

Barnardo's has over 100 years' experience of placing children with families, and we currently have over 30 fostering, adoption and short break care services across the UK.

Facts about fostering and adoption:

  • there are 64,400 children in care
  • 11,000 children are waiting to be placed with foster carers
  • 4,000 children are waiting to be adopted.

Our services recruit, train and support carers and adoptive families so that they can make a huge difference to these children’s lives.

Alternatively, call us on: 0800 0277 280

Local authorities – visit our Fostering and Adoption website to find out about our specialist services and how to make a placement.


Fostering is about looking after other people’s children when they are unable to remain with their own families. Foster care provides a safe, secure and stable environment for these young people, working with them, their families and the local authorities / trusts.

Foster carers provide care to children and young people for a few days, weeks, months or even years.


Adoption is a way of giving a child a loving, stable, caring family throughout childhood and beyond. Adoptive parents make a lifelong commitment to a child and take on full parental responsibilities.

Short break care

Short break carers (previously known as respite carers) provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to have regular short stays away from their families. This allows them to develop experiences and social contacts beyond their own home, while giving their parents/carers time to re-charge their batteries.