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Foster a child

Welcome a child into your family

Thinking about fostering? 

Help transform a life.

You could give a home to a vulnerable child when they need it most. It’s about giving them a safe, secure place to live for a few weeks, months or even years. 

This is a really important role that can get a child through a difficult time. Your love and support can make a huge difference to their life – and to yours. And you won't be alone: we will give you all the specialist support you need.

We believe you can foster

Foster carer and young person talking on bench

We welcome foster carers from all walks of life. Whether you’re single or married, male or female, a homeowner or renting, straight, lesbian, gay, trans or bisexual – it doesn't matter.

You only need to be 21 or over, have a spare bedroom, plus the time and commitment to care for a child or young person. It’s also important that carers can offer a smoke-free environment.

We'll support you every step of the way

We understand foster carers’ needs. We’ve been placing children with families for over 100 years – that’s longer than any other UK agency. 

We're also the UK’s largest independent not-for-profit fostering agency. That means we have the resources and expertise to support you whenever you need our help.

This includes:

  • your own dedicated social worker
  • a 24-hour helpline connecting you with our team of specialist social workers
  • free certified training
  • supportive short breaks
  • membership of fostering support groups local to your area
Listen to foster carer Christine talk about the support she gets from Barnardo's

Watch more videos about fostering with Barnardo's.

The first step – get in touch

If you’re interested in fostering with us, the first thing to do is fill in our online enquiry form. A member of our team will call you back to talk you through the fostering process, and set up a meeting. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 0277 280 - our phone lines are open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Fostering fee

You'll get generous financial support, including a taxable income as well as a weekly allowance to help with the cost of looking after a child.

Foster carers have a tax exemption of up to £10,000 per year, so you don’t have to pay tax on the first £10,000 you make from fostering.

On top of that, you also get tax relief for every week that a child is in your care. You can find more information about allowance and tax on the GOV.UK website

Children who need fostering

All kinds of children need loving foster carers, including:

  • children aged 0-18 years, but primarily children over the age of five
  • children from a BAME background
  • brothers and sisters
  • disabled children

We work hard to match the right children with the right carers.

Types of foster care

We provide different types of foster care to meet the different needs of children, including:

  • short-term fostering
  • long-term fostering
  • short break care
  • parent and child placements
  • emergency overnight care
  • remand foster care (looking after a young person awaiting trial)
  • 'fostering to adopt' – fostering a young child with the aim of adopting them
  • supported lodgings (welcoming a young adult leaving the care system into your home)

Areas we cover

Our fostering services around the UK: