There are many reasons why children and young people need to be looked after by foster carers, and every single case is different. The myth that families are always at fault and foster children are always difficult is untrue. Some people just need more help than others (and we can give you all the skills you need to give them that help).
As varied as the reasons for needing care are, there are three broad categories that most placements fit into.
Periods of instability
Some families unfortunately go through periods of instability due to difficult circumstances and need time apart to find a solution. Common factors include things like medical conditions, family breakdowns, learning difficulties, substance dependencies and depression.
Harm from family members
An abusive home life is sometimes the reason for a child or young person to need a foster family. In these instances, parents may have failed to meet the basic needs of their child, caused them harm or exposed them to inappropriate behavior or risk.
Abuse falls into five main groups: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic violence. These can all have long-lasting effects on the victim, so foster children may need extra special care and attention.
The parents of children with special needs occasionally need foster carers to take over so they can take a break. Looking after these children can be challenging and draining on a full-time basis, so respite care lets parents recover for a weekend, a couple of weeks or the duration of the school holidays.
Special needs include learning disabilities, specific medical needs, severe disabilities and challenging behaviour. Only carers who have been specifically trained to deal with each need will be put forward for this type of foster care.
For more information on the different types of foster care, read our ‘How long do foster children stay?’ FAQ.