Foster Parent or Foster Carer?

5 February 2024

So, is it foster carer or foster parent? There is no difference. Some prefer to be known as a ‘foster carer’, while others prefer to use ‘foster parent’. In practice, it’s exactly the same role. At Foster Care Matters, we prefer to use the terminology foster parent and you will see that throughout this website and all of our documentation. We prefer this for many different reasons:

The most important reason for us is; children and young people’s views.

Children have fed back to us that they want a normalised relationship and term, they don’t want to feel they need a need a ‘carer’. The term ‘carer’ is often attributed to someone who provides support due to illness, disability, or additional needs for example. Carers often look to support someone until that they no longer need their help, if possible. So the role of caring is often seen as time-limited.

Foster parent can be seen as more family-driven term.

Sometimes, this can help towards forming emotional connections between foster parents and children, ultimately, improving trust and emotional support instantly through a simple phrase.

Foster parents are additional relationships not replacement relationships.

The term ‘parent’ is no longer applied to just our birth parents. It is very common for children to experience being parented by additional adults (i.e. step-parents, aunts, family friends) They may be additional people who love and care for them in addition or instead of their parents, as are foster parents. Some of our children in care may have never experienced parenting from their birth parents due to circumstances.

Children’s needs matter.

With all our work, it’s the children’s needs that are the most important aspect in all of this, and it is what they are comfortable with that matters the most. If they want to call you their Foster Carer, Aunt, Uncle or Mr P – we are fine with that and we hope you will be too!


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