Who might you foster? | Oxfordshire County Council

Who might you foster?

The kind of children who need foster carers.

girl and boy with arms around each other

We are working with many different children who will need fostering - some for a short period of time and some will need a longer placement.

Our children come from a wide range of backgrounds and all have their own individual needs. They may have been abused or neglected, or their parents may have alcohol or drug dependency, mental health problems, learning difficulties or may have been in care themselves.

Every child's story is different, but what they all need is security, stability and the opportunity to achieve their full potential.   These children need the security of ordinary family life until they can return to their parents or if this is not possible to live with either an adoptive family or foster family in their forever home.

We are particularly interested in finding foster carers for:

  • a group of siblings: Our aim when appropriate is to keep brothers and sisters together. Keeping them together maintains a family bond and means they are there for each other.
  • a variety of age ranges: We work with children of all ages but the age group that we most need carers for are age 12 years and teenagers.
  • disabled children: We need foster carers who can look after disabled children with physical and or learning disabilities.
  • black and minority ethnic children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children: There are a number of black/dual heritage children and children from other ethnic backgrounds who are unable to remain with their birth parents.   It is important that their own cultural background is promoted and nurtured. We therefore try as much as possible to find carers for these children so that they feel connected to their backgrounds. This includes recruiting parents from a range of faith groups.

Meet the children

Madison (11)

'Hi my name is Madison and I like gardening and puzzles!'

Here's what others say...

Madison is a charming young girl who has a big personality and is a delight to be around.  Madison enjoys being outdoors especially if she is doing gardening.  She also likes playing football, puzzles, shopping, reading and going for a walk.  Madison enjoys helping out with household chores such as cooking and tidying.  She has no problems eating, and she enjoys a varied diet.

Madison has epilepsy and takes medication but other alternatives to manage this more effectively are being explored. Madison wears a helmet to protect her head from injury during a seizure.

Madison attends a local special school and has moderate learning difficulties, she is doing well at school. She has friends at school and she is popular with her teachers.

Madison needs a family where she feels  she can belong, be cared for and gain independence

If I could have my own special wish I would like a family to love me and care for me!”

Sophie (12)

'Hi my name is Sophie...I love the trampoline and cooking!'

Here's what others say...

Sophie is sporty and active and loves  trampolining!  She also likes swimming, rounders, netball and Girl Guides.  She likes to try new activities too so a busy family would suit her.  Sophie wants the chance to continue to grow up in a family rather than the children's home where she has lived for the past year.   Sophie enjoys music and acting and arts, crafts and cooking.  She likes helping such as tidying and washing up.  Sophie also likes pets.

Last year Sophie  did a sponsored walk to raise money for the British Heart Foundation,  she says " I care about people who have missed out on things".

Sophie works hard at school and has a good group of friends.  She enjoys meeting with friends, going shopping and listening to music.  It takes Sophie a bit of time to trust people but once she feels relaxed then she enjoys being with others and is good company.

Sophie's  social worker says: Sophie would like a family who would make her feel welcome and want to spend time with her.

"If I could have my own special wish…I would like to live with a family who will enjoy all the things I like to do!”

Max (12)

'Hi my name is Max I like swimming, football and playing with the dogs.'

Here's what others say:

Max’s foster carer describes him as a lovely, helpful lad who is easy to get on with. He is inquisitive and has a good sense of humour. He is always interested in what people are doing and likes to be involved in family activities.

He enjoys learning by taking part in practical tasks and loves to help adults out walking the dogs, carrying shopping or cooking a meal. He likes to be outdoors on his bike or scooter, and enjoys fishing, farming and dog training.

Max lacks confidence and needs opportunities to get involved in projects which will boost his self esteem. He is behind at school but has the ability to catch up, and has made a lot of progress in the last six months.  He will continue to need encouragement and support so that he can reach his full potential.

Max needs a long term placement where he can feel secure enough to learn to manage his emotions, and make sense of his past. Max could benefit from being in a family where there are older young people for him to look up to.  Max will have contact with his birth family which his carers will need to support.

If I could have my own special wish “I would like a family to love me and care for me”

Annie (7) and Sara (9)

'Hi our names are Annie and Sara ... we really want to live together.

'Let me tell you more about us. We both like doing lots of things especially outside and ‘helping’ our foster carers in the house and garden.'

Here's what others say about Annie who is two years younger than Sara:

Annie is ambitious, determined and sociable. Annie is a talented artist and is brilliant at crafts and drawing.  She also likes being active and enjoys playing games.

Here's what others say about Sara...a caring child.

Sara loves drama, acting and singing.  She can be sensitive and anxious sometimes.  Sara has some extra help at school but has no particular health issues.

Both girls are close to each other and although they have different personalities, they really depend on one another. Annie and Sara are healthy and active girls.

Annie and Sara can behave like younger children than their age due to their experiences of living with their birth parents.  Since being in foster care, they have both made huge progress and are now looking for their forever home.

Annie and Sara need a family who will give them lots of kindness and love whilst giving clear rules and boundaries.

If we could have our own special wish…“we would like a family who could care for both of us!”

Jack (10)

'Hi my name is Jack, I am 10 years old...I love having adventures, learning new things and riding my bike.'

 Jack's foster carers say…

'Jack loves outings and meeting new people.  He is polite, kind to young children and friendly.  He is great at following instructions and absolutely loves making people proud of him.   Jack is extremely rewarding, enthusiastic about life and he is a pleasure to have around.'

Jack has experienced a significant amount of neglect in his birth family.  Since coming in to care Jack has grown in confidence and is becoming proud of his many achievements particularly in swimming, cycling and football. 

He loves school and tries really hard with all he does.  He has made significant progress although his Special Educational Needs mean that he is significantly behind his age group and needs reminding of what he has learnt.  Jack currently demonstrates no challenging behaviour but his special needs mean that he still finds it hard to make friends with children of his own age. 

School staff describes Jack as…'positive' and 'a joy to spend time with.'

Jack likes classical music and playing with his cars.  He plays happily on his own and also loves playing games – his first choice of things to do never involves a screen!

If I could have my own special wish: 'I would like to live in a house with animals.'

Will I have a say in who I foster?

To ensure our placements are successful we always take the time to achieve the right match between a carer and a child.  Carers are involved

After the child is placed with you we will continue to provide training and support to help deal with the particular needs of the child.

Where are the children from?

The children that we are placing with foster carers will all be Oxfordshire children.  We do our best to place children with secure, loving families in their local area so they can stay in the same school and to keep in touch with their friends.

Babies and young children

Baby

We need foster carers to look after the younger children and babies in our care. This could be for a few weeks or months.

During this time we work on rehabilitation with the family to prepare for the child to go back home.

In some instances the child will go to live with another family member or will be adopted.

The foster carer's role during this time is really important, apart from all the day-to-day care you will be working with the birth family facilitating contact and involved in the child moving back home or being introduced to the new adoptive parents.

Fostering babies is very rewarding but can also be very demanding.  You will work closely with the birth parents, which will allow them to have regular contact with their baby. If the plan is for the baby to be adopted, you will host introduction meetings with the adopters and the child.

When fostering a child aged under five, one carer would be expected to stay at home with the child. You also need to consider transport, as you will be responsible for taking the child for contact arrangements, meetings and medical visits.

Training is available to help you learn the skills needed to be a baby foster carer.

Babies with complex needs

Some babies may have complex needs, like fetal alcohol syndrome or drug withdrawal, and some are tube-fed. Other babies are healthy and just need time in foster care while long term plans are made.

Sometimes, there is a toddler sibling who is also in need of a foster home. The under-five age range can be exhausting but helps children at crucial stages of development.

"If you are considering fostering, please do try and find it in you to keep the siblings together. I can't even begin to imagine what life would have been like without my very special twin sister.

"We have needed each other for support and love from the very word go. Because however much love and support you get from your adoptive parents, there are times when you feel confused about life and where you belong, and that can affect you.

"We just chat and hug when we need each other, and that's so important. So please keep brothers and sisters together if you can."

Siblings

Sibling groups can be difficult to place together because not all foster carers consider fostering more than one child.

Our aim, when appropriate, is for brothers and sisters to be placed together as research has shown that keeping siblings together works out well, resulting in fewer problems and more positive outcomes for the children.

Brothers and sisters are a great support for each other. They will play and occupy one another and also share a history together, helping them to deal with some of the issues around being fostered.

We would urge you to consider sibling groups when thinking about the children that we are going to place with you, we know that the decision to take more than one child is a difficult one but it could be a very rewarding one.

Teenagers

Teenager

Fostering teenagers can be a challenge but there's nothing more rewarding than using your skills to help a young person turn their life around.

Being a teenager is a difficult time for all youngsters who often feel insecure and misunderstood. But for a young person who has gone through particularly distressing experiences at home, it can be a very unsettling time. They often feel insecure and misunderstood and without support and guidance their behaviour and lifestyle choices may seriously affect their future.

To foster teenagers you may not need to be at home all the time, so you can work and foster. What is important is that you do have the time to spend with the young person on a one to one basis to give support and be there when necessary.

You need to be tolerant, patient and flexible, but firm and consistent in setting boundaries. You need to actively listen, help and make sense of the concerns and issues that these young people are experiencing and let them know that you are there for them.

As a foster carer of a teenager, you will need to help the young person in your care to develop the maturity and skills they need to become more independent, just as you would your own teenage children. As well as emotional support, you need to help them to develop the practical skills they’ll need for a successful independent adulthood, such as cooking and managing their finances.

Fostering teens can be for either a short period of time until they return to their birth family or for longer until they are old enough to live independently, in some situations the young person may be living at home but need some weekend relief care.   Fostering allows them to have a safe environment after traumatic or troubling circumstances.

Watch a fostering video

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC)

UASC may be amongst the most traumatised and vulnerable children known to the Department. Some may have witnessed the death of family members and may be entirely alone. Others may come from countries where the rule of law has broken down and where survival depends on trusting only immediate family. Most will have had long and tortuous journeys to this country suffering significant hardship on route. Such experiences mean that they will need time, space and help to begin to rebuild their lives.

Young people fleeing Syria

If you want any information on fostering unaccompanied asylum seeking children or information about young people that might be fleeing Syria then please contact us on 0800 783 5724 and we will be happy to help.

Fostering relatives and children of family friends

When children are brought up by family members or friends, it is known as Family and friends carer.

More information

If you want to find our more about any of our children who are currently wanting to find permenancy with long term foster family or children waiting for adoption then contact the  Recruitment Team.

Last reviewed
15 December 2016
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