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 and 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”

Elisabeth (12 ) and Logan (6)

"Hi we are Elisabeth (12) and Logan, (6) ………We love bouncing on the trampoline!"

Here's what others say……

Elisabeth and Logan's foster carers say "they are lovely, happy children and it is a pleasure to see them blossoming".

Logan is 6 years old, although he can seem a lot younger than his age.   He is a confident, chatty and energetic boy who has a permanent smile on his face.   He loves to help his carers around the house and garden and thrives from adult attention.  Logan also really enjoys books and being read to. 

Logan has a gentle and caring nature and is very kind to his carers young grandchildren.  Logan is very independent and likes to do things for himself, he therefore needs carers who can help him look to them for support.  Logan needs additional support with his education but greatly enjoys learning and celebrating his successes.

Elisabeth, 12, is a conscientious, quiet and young-minded girl. Her face lights up when she receives praise from her carers.  Elisabeth has invested in positive relationships in her current foster home, particularly with the male carer. Elisabeth is a member of a trampoline club where she is enjoying applying herself and making good progress. Elisabeth needs support from her carers to come out of her shell, grow in confidence and flourish.  She also needs carers who can ensure her needs do not get overlooked alongside her younger brothers more dominant nature.

If I could have my own special wish…“We would like to live with a family who will spend lots of time with us!”

Desmond (9)

Hi my name is Desmond, I am 9 years old I love animals, drama and making friends.

Desmond's foster carers say

Desmond is a sociable boy and has lots of friends. He is lively, bouncy and enjoys activity.

Desmond likes drama , dressing up and story-telling.  He attends an after-school club where he has taken part in performances.  He also likes dinosaurs, science and space! He enjoys school and learning and is a popular boy at school.

Desmond is a caring and gentle boy with a love of animals. He enjoys watching nature documentaries and wants to be a vet.

Desmond needs a stable and loving home. He would get on well with other children and family pets. 

"If I could have my own special wish I would like to live with a family who have pets".

Luke (9)

Hi my name is Luke, I am 9 years old and I love playing football and I would like to be a famous footballer when I grow up. 

 Luke's foster carers say

Luke is very active and enjoy lots of sports including swimming, running , cycling and P.E. He likes to help with cooking, he likes all sorts of food including Caribbean food.  His favourite meal is curry goat but also likes pasta, pizza and salad.  Luke is close to my sisters and would like to be able to live near them if possible.  He is working hard with literacy and maths and has got beautiful handwriting.  He enjoys playing on the X Box.

Luke’s social worker and his foster carer say that Luke is a ‘charmer’, he can be very polite and likes to take an interest in how he looks – he styles his hair with gel and enjoys getting dressed up.  Luke is a friendly boy and loves attention, he is sociable and gets on with any age group.  Friendships are important to him.  Luke sees himself as a protector , particularly of his younger siblings, and hates to witness bullying against anyone  and he will intervene even if it  has nothing to with him!

Luke presents as confident and likes to try new things, but this masks his underlying anxiety at times.

Luke is a bright boy but he has missed a lot of schooling and is now doing his best to catch up.  He has recently moved up a set in literacy and is hoping to move up a set in maths soon.  Luke loves history and enjoyed a visit to Windsor Castle over the Christmas holidays.

Luke needs a family who are active and sporty and who can give him consistent boundaries and routines.  He also needs carers who are able to understand his attachment to his birth family and  who will support his contact with them.  Luke is proud of his dual heritage (Jamaican/white British) and would like to be able to learn more about his Jamaican background.

If I could have my own special wish "I would like to be able to join a football club".

Freddy (5)

Hi my name is Freddy, I am 5 years old and I love sport and being outdoors.

Freddy's foster carers say

His foster carer describes Freddy as very funny with a lovely sense of humour and sense of fun.  He loves sport, especially football, gymnastics and tennis.  He also enjoys being outside, either playing or helping out in the garden.  He enjoys the company of others and is a very endearing little boy. 

Freddy is very intelligent and has made a lot of progress at school and is catching up fast with his peers.  He used to not be able to take praise but now he can’t wait to tell his carer every time he achieves something.  When he grows up, he would like to be a policeman during the day and a gardener in the evenings.

Freddy needs a long-term placement where he can continue the excellent progress that he has been making.  When he first came into care, be couldn’t make sense of his emotions, but he is now able to articulate how he is feeling much more and is learning how to calm himself down.  As Freddy loves 1-1 attention from adults, he would probably do best in a family where he is the only child in the household. 

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

Lewis and Karl (8)

Hi our names are Lewis and Karl, we are 8 year old twins and we love cuddles and story time.

 Their foster carers say

They are happy, active and caring boys, wanting lots of affection.  They enjoy the company of other people and can play with children of any age well.  We think they need a family who enjoy an active lifestyle who can give them one to one attention. The boys play well together most of the time but enjoy separate activities.   They love swimming, football, computer games and reading.

Lewis and Karl's  school teachers say: “everyone adores the boys at school”.  Since joining their new school in September both Lewis and Karl have made huge progress academically.  Lewis loves reading and both the boys are making progress with their maths and writing skills. They will need on-going support to help them achieve their potential.  They are both polite and well mannered.

Karl's skills coach describes him as thoughtful, good company and always up for trying new things. Karl enjoys quieter activities such as reading in the library as well as time in the park playing hide and seek.

Lewis is energetic and enthusiastic.  He likes to be helpful and enjoys physical activities particularly playing badminton and bowling.

Lewis and Karl's social worker says:

I am looking to place Lewis and Karl together with foster carers who can provide the calmness, affection and boundaries the boys need. They can be very rewarding to look after and would fit into a family perhaps with older children.

If we could have our own special wish: "We would like a family where we can be together".

Jack (10)

Hi my name is Jack, I am 10 years old and 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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