An in depth guide to fostering

Last updated: 26 January 2022

3. Information about the children

Today, most of the children in foster care have left their families of origin in difficult circumstances. Often the courts will have been involved, making the decision that they cannot safely return to the care of their own families.

The children may have been living at home with family for some time before sufficient grounds for concern came to light and the decision made to remove them.

Their birth family circumstances often involve some or a combination of the following:

  • misuse of drugs and/or alcohol
  • domestic abuse
  • mental ill health difficulties
  • learning difficulties
  • criminality
  • troubled family circumstances leading to poor parenting

The children are likely to have experienced some or all of the following:

  • effects of drug/alcohol misuse by parents during the pregnancy or in the child’s early years
  • neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • inconsistency
  • poor parenting
  • a chaotic home environment
  • many moves and changes of carer/parent
  • special needs arising from disability or uncertainty about future development

These factors are likely to have impacted on a child’s emotional, social and behavioural development and may well have long term implications for their future development. Some children continue to lack trust in adults and experience difficulties in forming and maintaining lasting close attachments to their new carers.

Some of the children will have developed greater resilience to these difficulties than others – depending in part on other significant relationships in their lives – for example brothers and sisters, other adult relatives or friends, foster carers.