Foster carers provide a safe place to stay for children aged 0-18 years who are in our care. Children live with them as part of the family. We have a responsibility to make sure we find the most suitable people to perform this important role.

Children are fostered when they can’t live at home with their birth families. It's usually a short-term arrangement before a child returns home, moves to relatives or is adopted, but some children remain in long-term foster care until they are 18.

There is a big difference between fostering and Adoption Opens in a new window. A foster carer knows that the child they are looking after is not theirs and will move on eventually, while an adopter becomes the legal parent of a child forever.

Most of our foster carers live in or around Torbay, which means that the children we look after can stay close to the people and places they know and remain at the same school. Wherever possible, we also try to match children with foster carers who reflect their cultural heritage and other needs. We have increasing numbers of children from all kinds of backgrounds, so we need local foster carers from all walks of life.

Why are children in our care?

Less commonly these days we have babies to find homes for as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. In these cases, the baby is fostered until an adoptive family is found.

There are many reasons why children aren’t able to live at home, but it is nearly always because their birth parents are unable to look after them. Birth parents may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol or have mental health problems and the child may have been neglected or abused. Sometimes there will have been some kind of crisis or disruption within the family, such as a long term illness, death or imprisonment. These kinds of things happen in families of all social and cultural backgrounds.

Statement of Purpose 2018 to 2019
Torbay Foster Care Service