Fostering is a way of providing a family life and home for children who cannot live with their own parents.

There are many different reasons why families start to foster but they all have one thing in common – a wish to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in care. It takes very special people to foster and we believe you can have an important part to play in helping transform a child’s life. 

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 have a focus on matching children who may need extra care and support from a foster family. 

Older children

Older children in care are often in need of the right support and understanding. What they need is not only a loving and caring foster family, but also clear direction, consistency and reliability to encourage their transition from unsure teenagers to active and healthy young adults. 

Do you think you can foster older children? Regardless of your fostering experience, we’re here to provide you with the right advice, information and support every step of the way.  

Find out more about fostering older children or teenagers with Barnardo’s.

Children from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities 

The lack of diversity in carers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds was highlighted in 2018’s foster care stocktake.

The report highlighted that BAME children entering the UK care system are unlikely to be matched with BAME carers or those with the cultural experience necessary to understand their needs. The report also mentioned that BAME children in the care system also stay disproportionately long if they cannot return to their birth families.
Barnardo’s wants this to change. Find out more about fostering children from a BAME background.

Children coming into care with their brothers or sisters 

Children who come into care with their brothers or sisters, are often separated because there are no suitable foster placements for them to stay together. 

We know how important it is for children to be able to have a relationship with brothers and sisters and how infrequent contact can cause distress when siblings are separated. Keeping siblings together in foster care offers each child extra support and can reduce feelings of isolation. 

If you have the space, time and commitment to foster brothers and sisters, we’d love to hear from you.​​​​​

​​​Find out more about fostering siblings.

Disabled children 

Children in care may have suffered neglect or abuse in the past. Some children who need foster care have mild or severe disabilities.

We need foster carers, including short break carers, who are able to help meet their needs. We offer ongoing support and training so that together, we can help children with disabilities reach their full potential.

Find out more about fostering disabled children.

By choosing to become a foster carer you can make a huge difference to a child's life - and yours.​​​​​​

  • Mother and children laughing at a kitchen table

    Fostering journey

    We understand the decision to foster is a huge step and we'll provide you with support every step of the way. Find out more about the journey to fostering.

  • boy leaning on fence

    Fostering FAQs

    Potential foster carers often have a number of questions about who can foster and what to expect, so we've busted some myths about the requirements of fostering with us.​​​

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    Become a foster carer

    The first step towards joining the Barnardo's family is getting in touch. Complete our online form or find details about alternative contact methods here.