Fostering Jargon buster

We know fostering can seem like a confusing process at times, but it isn’t as complicated as it seems.The jargon and abbreviations sometimes don’t help, so we have put together this jargon buster.  If we have missed something, let us know.


An allowance is the amount of money that foster carers receive in order to take care of the young people in their care.  The amount will vary for a variety of reasons including the number of children in placement, the age of the children and if there are any special circumstances (for example if they have disabilities or additional needs).  


BP stands for Birth Parents


Contact refers to any communication that someone in care has with their birth family.

Care Leaver

A care leaver is defined as a person aged 25 or under, who has been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14; and who was looked after at school-leaving age or after that date.


An IFA is an “Independent Foster Agency” just like Fostering Ltd.  We work closely with Local Authorities to find placements for children and Young People. 

Smaller IFA’s may be able to offer much more support than a local authority and are usually aware of every case, meaning that it is easy to talk to us about any problems that come up.


LA stands for Local Authority.  Local Authorities have overall responsibility for young people who are looked after in foster care and will take the lead indecisions about children, birth families and care plans.


The Local Authority Designated Officer is the person that deals with any worries about the conduct or behaviour of foster carers; this includes any allegations that are made by young people


All Local Authority and Independent Foster Carers have to attend a meeting called an Approval Panel before becoming an approved foster carer. This is where the report that has been written about you and your family is presented to a panel of between five and seven people who will make a recommendation to Fostering Ltd about whether to approve your application or not. You will have read the report yourself before this meeting and then have the opportunity to feed back on this. 

Our current panel is made up of people independent of Fostering LTD who come from different backgrounds; we have a Social Worker, SEN Teacher, Health Visitor, Youth Worker, Civil Servant, Foster Carer, retired Police Officer and a residential care home worker. You will be required to attend this panel meeting where you will be asked some final questions. The Panel will make a recommendation to us based on the assessment and the Panel meeting.


A placement is a young person or young person that is placed with a foster family.  There are different kind of placements listed below.

Emergency placement

Children or young people can be taken out of their family home in an emergency. Sometimes little is known about the child or situation, but foster care is needed to provide immediate safety. Emergency placements can last from 1 night to several months or may be needed in the middle of the night.

Short Term placement

Short term fostering is providing a child or young person with a place to stay until they can return to their own family, or if that is not possible, until a more permanent plan is made for the child; this could include long term fostering, Special Guardianship or Adoption . Short term fostering is a very important part of our service since many of the children who come into our care may only need a short term solution to issues whilst their families access support. A short term foster placement can last from a few days to several months depending on the circumstances.

Long Term placement

Depending on the circumstances, some children and young people are not able to return to their families so a plan for long term fostering may be needed. Young people may stay with their short term carers if they are happy and settled, or sometimes a specific long term carer will be identified who can meet the long term needs of a child or young person. Long term fostering usually lasts until the young person feels ready to live independently.

Remand placement

Remand care is an alternative to young people being held in police custody. It is a specialised type of fostering placement and it aims to get young people and children out of a police environment into a more appropriate setting. These types of placement may last for one night or several months depending on the reason for the young person’s arrest.

Mother and baby placement

Parents (mother/father/both) can be placed in foster care together with their baby/child/children in order to support the parent/s in learning to parent their children safely and appropriately. The needs of these families will vary but specially trained foster carers support the parent(s) and child during a period of assessment. The aim of these placements is to help parents to live independently with their children in a safe environment.

Disabled Children placement

Sometimes children and young people have additional needs because of a physical or learning disability. This can mean they need specialist carers who are able to meet their individual needs in a safe and nurturing way. Fostering Ltd works in partnership with Local Authorities to identify and train carers who feel they have the skills to care for children with additional needs on a short term, long term or respite basis. Extra training is provided to ensure children with additional needs are provided with the best possible care.

Sibling Placements

Sibling placements are for brothers and sisters who need to be placed together whilst they cannot live with their family. Fostering Ltd strongly advocates that wherever possible, siblings should be placed together; research shows us outcomes for these children are better than when young people are separated from their brothers and sisters. Sometimes it may not be in the best interests of the children to be placed together and in this circumstance it is expected 


The Process is the steps you go through to become an approved Foster Carer.  The steps are Initial enquiry, Home Visit, Application form, assessment, Checks, Training and Finally panel

Home Visit

There will be a visit by one of our Supervising Social Workers who will visit you in your home. We will talk to you about Fostering Ltd, our child care ethos and the type of carers we are looking for. This will also give you an opportunity to ask any further questions and help you decide if fostering is right for you and your family at this time.


If your application is accepted, the Assessor allocated to you will come and visit you, your partner (if you are in a relationship) and your family and household members. There will be approximately 8 visits in total, taking place every week or so, working around your availability. During these visits, a detailed picture of your family life, childcare experiences, views and understanding of the fostering task is compiled into a report. All household members will be involved in this assessment and we will also ask you to provide two personal references.

processing your checks and will keep you updated at every stage.


During your assessment you will be invited to attend training with the agency; this will give you the opportunity to meet other applicants, foster carer/s and trainers who can answer your questions from real experience. It will also ensure you understand the post-approval training requirements for the role. In addition, you will be asked to attend a pre-approval course called €˜Skills to Foster€™. Details of this are found in the €˜Training€™ section further down.

Approved Foster Carer

Once panel has made a recommendation to approve or not, this is then passed to our Agency Decision Maker who will consider panel’€™s recommendation and make the final decision. You will then be informed of this decision within 7 days.

Social worker

There are two types of social worker involved in fostering

Supervising Social Worker

The supervising social worker works for a fostering service, such as Fostering Ltd, and is responsible for the supervision and support of foster carers. They will be the first port of call if the foster carers have any issues. They also attend meetings with carers and conduct annual reviews. 

Child’s Social worker

The child’s social worker is responsible for the overall care of the young person, including arranging contact with family, making decisions about a child’s care and visiting them regularly to gain a child’s wishes and feelings. 

Support Network

We recommend that all Foster Carers consider their support network.  This includes social workers, friends and family and other foster carers.

At Fostering Ltd you get lots of chances to meet and talk to other foster carers, during training days and special events, such as our annual summer picnic and our Christmas parties.