Fostering language glossary

When your family starts fostering you might hear lots of words and phrases you have never heard before: Never be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something. Here are a few terms and their meanings to get you started:

Child’s Social Worker

Supports the fostered child or young person you are looking after and will need to visit on a regular basis to make sure they are ok

Supervising Social Worker

Supports and advises your family in your work as foster carers. He or she will visit you often to make sure you are all happy in your work as foster carers


The law says that all children have a right to see their family. Contact is time that is arranged for the children you foster to see their parent(s) or brothers and sisters. This might be after school or at weekends and may sometimes mean things you want to do have to wait


When a fostered child tells someone for the first time that someone has hurt them. If a child tells you about something that has happened to them, you must tell your parent/s.


When a child goes to stay with a foster family, this is known as a ‘placement’


A meeting where foster carers and other adults, involved in looking after a fostered child, get together to talk about what is happening with them

Guardian or Guardian ad litem

A person appointed by the court to look after the best interests of a child. The Guardian will probably visit your foster child at your house


If you become part of a fostering family, there will be rules about what your parents can share with other people about your fostered child and their family. There will be things that you know that you will not be able to tell your friends. This is because everyone has the right not to have information about them shared without their permission


A meeting where foster carers and other adults discuss everything to do with a fostered child’s education (Personal Education Plan).