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Foster carers & foster parents

Some carers prefer to be known as a ‘foster carer’, while others prefer to use ‘foster parent’. In practice, it’s exactly the same role.

Is there a difference between a foster carer and a foster parent?

We don’t mind at all whether you want to call yourself a foster carer or a foster parent. Our priority is the end result – achieving good outcomes for our children within a nurturing home environment.

Everyone who fosters a child for National Fostering Group performs a highly skilled role that requires a professional approach and in-depth training. They are expected to contribute to meetings with other care professionals, follow care plans, and even write reports on occasions when they are required. And they are paid for looking after foster children.

Foster carer

Some of you feel that the professional demands of the role aren’t quite reflected by the word ‘parent’, and so prefer to be called a foster carer. This is the term we use most of the time, because, when we asked our carers, this is the term most said they prefer.

Foster parent

However, some carers like the term ‘foster parent’ because, to them, it’s a softer, warmer term that makes more of the nurturing side of the relationship between them and the foster child.

I enjoy meeting people and promoting fostering as I am passionate about it. I want others to feel as I do. I want more children to be cared for in a safe environment.

Fostering Solutions (a National Fostering Group agency) has always had the right ethos with putting the child first and foremost, so I am sincere in promoting them above other agencies.

Nanette, foster carer/parent

What’s in a name?

In reality, everyone who looks after a foster child feels an emotional connection, whether they call themselves a foster carer or a foster parent. There is no right answer – you can use whichever term that suits you. You all do the same brilliant job and help us provide vulnerable children with good outcomes.

Whether you are a foster carer or a foster parent with National Fostering Group, you are:

  • Patient
  • Professional
  • Compassionate
  • Skilled
  • Warm-hearted
  • Well-trained

You can read more about the qualities you need to look after a foster child on our Who Can Foster page.

When she calls me dad, it makes me feel amazing. What more could I ask for, I see her as my daughter, not my foster daughter.

Jason, foster carer/parent

Need more information?

The best way to get more information is to fill out our enquiry form for a call back. An advisor from your local team will get back in touch to explain more about becoming a foster carer or foster parent in the UK, and answer any questions you have at this stage.

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Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.