Making the decision to bring a child into your life is a huge step, and at a time when things are quite so uncertain, giving a young person in need a stable home is an incredible thing to do.

At a time when there is clearly a real need for more foster carers across the UK, a lot of people may be asking themselves what the difference is between adopting and fostering. Both are big commitments that will have a tremendous positive impact on the life of the child in question, but there are some key differences that you will need to be aware of if you’re considering either option. Let’s break down the key ones.

Fostering Is Not A Legal Process

One of the main differences between fostering and adoption is that when you become a foster carer of a child, the local authority and the child’s parents continue to have legal responsibility. When you adopt a child, you are taking on all the parental rights. When a child is in need of a foster home, it can often be a temporary solution while a situation is being resolved. Something that is very common with foster carers is that once they have been through the process once, they will continue to provide a safe space for fosters.

Foster Carers Receive Different Support

When you apply to become a foster carer, the agency or authority will take you through a training process while they conduct a series of assessments and background checks. This is to help you to prepare for the specific challenges that can come with looking after a foster child, but remember that this support will continue once the child is homed with you. If you’re fostering in Cardiff, for example, Calon Cymru Fostering will be available round the clock to offer help.

Foster carers will also receive financial support from their local authority to make sure that they can comfortably provide everything their foster child needs during their time with them. Fostering is incredibly rewarding but there are specific demands that come with it, so there are funds available to help.

There Are Several Different Types Of Fostering

While adoption is pretty much a cut and dry process, there are different kinds of foster opportunities available for people with the right the right skills and mindsets.

For example, there are therapeutically led foster placements which offer vulnerable children the security of a safe home space with the therapy they need. There are many reasons why children need foster care, and this kind of placement benefits those who have suffered trauma or abuse and who need this type of support. There are also parent and child fostering, which allows the parent to learn the skills to look after their child under the supervision of a foster carer over a limited period of time. From short-term to long-term foster care, from fostering a single child to siblings, there is a wide range of placements that you can look into depending on what you feel you can offer.

There was a 44% increase in the number of children in need of foster care and placements last year, and everyone deserves to feel safe and secure. If you feel like you’re ready for this journey, take that step!