Is fostering the poor relation of adoption?

Back in Spring 2016, the then education secretary Nicky Morgan caused quite an upset when she said: “We cannot stand by while children spend months in care waiting for their new family, when loving parents are available.”


Yet of those children in care, 75 per cent are being actively fostered. Unsurprisingly representatives of those hard working foster families hit back in an article in The Guardian to say: ‘children in foster care are not “waiting” for a loving family: they are in one.’


Fostering doesn’t operate in the same way as adoption but from our experience it is very deeply valued by all involved.


For anyone entering fostering there is a clear difference they must recognise – foster carers never have parental responsibility for the children they care for, no matter how long they look after him or her. Plus the local authority will always maintain some involvement in the child’s life which places expectations on the fosterer to attend certain meetings and undertake other administrative chores.


Although some people who enquire about fostering through GLF have found that a compromise they weren’t able to accept, we see these differences as a very positive thing. It means that fostering provides an alternative care option that may much better suit the child involved.


We at GLF find foster homes for all types of children. Some can be very temporary offering a child a home while their parent is ill or in hospital and unable to look after a much loved and wanted child.


For those children that aren’t able to live at home on a long-term basis, fostering offers a clear way for them to still maintain a link with their biological parents and families.


Ally, a 45-year-old woman who has been fostering through us for a decade, explains it perfectly: ‘I’ve been looking after Adam now for five years and I don’t think that is going to end any time soon. Although he sometimes has a difficult relationship with his birth mum he hold me recently that he is glad he is still part of her life in some way as it means he still knows the family he comes from.


‘I know that my job is to keep him safe and offer him care and stability. Neither Tom or I have ever felt the need to bring up adoption – he knows he is loved by me even if I am ‘just’ his foster Mum.’

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