Foster carers look after children and young people who can't live with their own families. They can be male or female, old or young. They might be single, married, or in a relationship with someone (either of the opposite sex, or the same sex). All foster carers are different, just like all families are different.
Some foster carers look after a foster child for a long time, and some only for a short time. No matter how long you stay with your foster carer, they'll always be kind and care about you. A foster carer isn't trying to replace your family, they just want to help you if you can't live at home.
No one can be a foster carer without permission from us (the council) first. Before someone becomes a foster carer, we get to know them and give them special training. So when they start fostering children like you, we know that they're going to do what's best for you.
We give foster carers lots of support too. So if they have a problem or are worried about something, there's always someone they can talk to.
What will my foster carer do?
Your foster carer will treat you like a member of their family. You'll live in their home, eat together, and do fun things with them. They'll always have a hug ready for you if you need one. They won't ever exclude you or make you feel bad for being a foster child.
Your foster carer will take you to school, and come with you if you need to see the dentist or doctor.
They'll find out about the things you like doing and encourage you to do them, or do them with you.
You can tell your foster carer how you feel and what's going on. That might be something happy, like if you have a good day at school. Or it might be when you need help with your homework, or if you're finding school hard. They'll be able to help you.
They'll listen to you if you need someone to talk to when you're upset, angry, or scared.
You're allowed to talk to your foster carer about your family if you want to. If you don't want to, that's okay too. They won't make you unless there's a really important reason.
What if there's something I don't like?
If something happens that you don't like, you should talk to your foster carer about it first. It might have been a mistake or an accident. Telling them will help stop it happening again.
Sometimes you might talk to your foster carer and it doesn't help. Or you might not feel like you can talk to them about it. If that happens, speak to your social worker as soon as you can. They can help you and your foster carer decide what to do about the problem.
Talking about problems can be uncomfortable and scary (even for grown ups!) But if you talk about it, we can try and fix it so it stops upsetting you and doesn't get any worse.