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 (12)

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".

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!”

Kelly (11)

"Hi my name is Kelly…. “I love my school, visiting friends and playing games and sport!”

Kellys's foster carers say….“Kelly loves playing games, going out, cooking and meeting people.  She is polite, enthusiastic and naturally inquisitive."

Here's what others say……

Since coming into care Kelly has grown in confidence and is becoming proud of her many achievements particularly in hockey and judo but also in the things that she is learning at school.

Kelly enjoys school and has 100% attendance and has received good reports from teachers. She is making good academic progress but remains behind many of her peers.  Kelly makes friends very easily.

School staff describe Kelly as…Positive” and “enthusiastic” 

Kelly has experienced a significant amount of neglect in her birth family and she needs a loving, nurturing family who can support her for the long term.

If I could have my own special wish ‘I would love a nurturing family home with carers who can spend plenty of quality time with me.”

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".

Jay (9)

"Hi my name is Jay, I am 9 years old…. “I love going to the park.”

 Jay's foster carers say….

“Jay is a happy , bubbly child.   He enjoys being active and needs space to play.   Jay likes sensory toys and can be very loving and tactile."

Jay is a happy little boy who enjoys playing outdoors.  He loves being in the garden or going to local parks, anywhere where he can play and run makes him very happy resulting in a great big smile.

Jay is 9 years old and has been living in a residential setting for the last 18 months.  He has a diagnosis of autism and this means he enjoys sensory play and can behave like a much younger child. Jay's communication is limited but he can follow verbal prompts and shows people to the things that he wants.

Jay has made good progress since he moved in to his current residential home; he has developed good relationships with staff but he and would now benefit greatly from being in a family setting.

If I could have my own special wish ‘Jay needs a special family with time and patience to support him.”

Nancy (4) and Sara (6)

"Hi our names are Nancy & Sara………”We both enjoy being outdoors and going to the park!"

Here's what others say……

Sara and Neveah are unable to live with their family due to significant neglect throughout their childhood and this shows itself in some of their behaviours and  them needing to be more dependent on adults than other children of their age.

Sara is a joyful, pretty sweet-natured girl. She is an affectionate girl who loves cuddles and ‘wears her heart on her sleeve’.  Sara loves physical activity and  being outdoors, either in the garden or going to the park, or more recently going swimming, and her current foster carers reports having had some really lovely times with her whilst out and about.  Sara also loves her food and enjoys baking. Sara takes pride in her achievements and enjoys praise. Sara is progressing well in her current placement; She sleeps through the night 7 to 7 and she is developing her self care skills and using the toilet. She is also showing an increasing interest in words, stories and colouring.

Nancy, like her sister, Nancy is a joyful, pretty little girl. She is a lively, energetic and enthusiastic little girl, who loves being outdoors. She is well-coordinated for her age, and is generally keen to have a go at new things. For example, she decided she wanted to start riding a bike without stabilisers, so she just got on and did it! Nancy loves her food and enjoys a really good variety of vegetables and fruit as well as loving pasta, bread, rice and roast dinners. Nancy enjoys being engaged in activities.  Nancy also sleeps 7 to 7.  She is beginning to accept boundaries and her behaviour in the home is much more settled as she has learnt that climbing is for outdoors and indoor play is more structured.

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

Joel (11)

"Hi my name is Joel, I am 11 years old. I love football, I enjoy playing football at school and outside and I really enjoy going to football matches.

Joel's foster carers say

Joel is good at other sports too, including, tennis, badminton, bike riding and pool. He enjoys reading and likes to be encouraged with this. He loves animals, especially dogs.

Joel is a polite young man who has good manners, he is a likeable and easy- going.  Joel thrives on adult attention. He needs a strong male role model as part of a family which is able to put in firm boundaries.

One-to-one, Joel is thoughtful, helpful and a 'delight'. Due to changes of school, Joel is behind in his learning, but staff in his current school report that he is doing well and trying hard. With the correct support and encouragement Joel should continue to make good progress.    

If I could have my own special wish ‘I would like to live in a loving, happy family and continue to see my own family."

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
17 October 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback