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Foster parent or foster carer, the correct terminology

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Although these seem like two completely different terms, there is no true difference in the definition and each term can be used interchangeably (you may notice we also use the term interchangeably on our website & stories). There are no rules as to which you should refer to yourself and we don’t have any preference either.

Some parents find being called a parent is a closer, more family-driven term which some will bring you and your children closer together. Many people believe that this more family-driven term works towards forming emotional connections between foster parents and their foster children, ultimately, improving trust and emotional support instantly through a simple phrase.

In comparison, the term foster carer automatically builds a temporary connection between both carer and child, subtly hinting that this is a temporary relationship. Not only does it signify this, but it also allows boundaries to be established. Having said this, the term ‘carer’ is still a comforting term and will help towards building the necessary relationship between both parties.

Whether you choose to become a foster parent or a foster carer, is totally down to you and is personal preference, however, we recommend picking the term you’d feel more comfortable with, and sticking to one term to prevent any confusion on your child’s behalf.

What really matters is that all of our foster carers/parents have what it takes to be a caring, nurturing role model for their children.
what really matters

What really matters is that all of our foster carers/parents have what it takes to be a caring, nurturing role model for their children.

A good foster carer can:

  • Provide strong emotional support
  • Act as a role model for their children
  • Provide guidance and moral support

There are many classes available to our foster carers/parents to help them become more qualified, and understand how to improve their fostering skillset.

If you are unsure or have any questions that you would like to ask us about fostering, we regularly provide specialised local events for prospective carers. These events provide you with the perfect opportunity to speak to our team of professionals about any questions or concerns you may have with regards to all things fostering. 

In conclusion, whether you want to be known as a foster parent or a foster carer it is totally up to you; it is down to your own personal preference. The terms serve the same purpose and ultimately they achieve the same end goal. Whether you decide to call yourself a foster parent or foster carer, the main objective of fostering is to provide support for vulnerable children, setting them up for the next stage of their life, no matter what stage they’re entering. 


Fostering insights


  • Foster Carer
  • Advice

Date published

15 April 2022

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