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Going into care: what happens to me?

When you're taken into care, you may go into residential care, respite care, a short-term home or be given an out-of-borough place. Social services will do their best to find you a foster family. 

Find out more about what happens in foster care and how we can support you.

What happens in foster care?

When you are put into foster care, you’ll be placed with a foster family who have been specially chosen as people who are capable of providing you with a safe, stable environment.

Your foster family will provide you with the chance to live in a secure, loving and caring home. You will live with your foster family in their house and they’ll give you a normal family life and look after you from day to day.

When you’re living with your foster family, remember you can turn to them with any problems you have.   

Building mental health

Woman and girl on couch

What is foster care like?

Going in to care can be difficult, but the professionals around you and your new carers will make it easier to adjust. You’ll live with your foster family, have meals with them, and they’ll make sure you have everything you need for school and out of school activities.

You might be living with just your foster parents, but they might also have children of their own, or other foster children living with them. This will give you a chance to meet new children and make friends. 

Remember, your foster family aren’t trying to replace your real parents or family – they’re just trying to help until your parents are able to take you back and give you the care and security you need. 

How many children are in foster care?


children are living in foster care in England

Over 66,000

young people are living in care

What age does foster care end? 

There isn’t officially a set age when someone ends foster care, though when you turn 18 you are officially an adult and so can leave foster care if you choose. But if your foster family is happy for you to remain with them, you can stay as long as you’d like. 

If you do choose to leave care, your local council must: 

  • Provide you with a personal adviser who keeps in touch with you once you’ve left care. 
  • Carry out an assessment to find out what advice and support you need.