Fostering - A Jargon Buster - Lorimer Fostering

Lorimer - At the heart of fostering

Fostering – A Jargon Buster

Posted on 9th March 2014 by

Your head and heart are there.  You think you want to go into fostering.  Great.  But, maybe, you are a bit overwhelmed by all the information out there and feel a bit confused by some of the terms, phrases and acronyms that are you are coming across?

Please don’t fret.

We don’t want potential foster carers to be put off and so have pulled together a fostering jargon buster to help you navigate.

Fostering Pay / Allowance

The payment a foster carer receives per foster child.  It covers things like food, clothing, transport and their pocket money.


The thorough review and checking process within fostering to ensure that an applicant is ready to become a foster carer.  The process is comprehensive and can take up to 6 months.

Care Plan

Each child in fostering has a Care Plan to summarise their particular needs and how the team caring for them plan to meet these.  It will have short, medium and long-term perspectives.

Children’s Services

The department in a local government authority accountable for children and young people, including foster care and fostering.


Child in Need

Connected Person

A family member (whether by birth or marriage/civil partnership), friend of, or other person who is known to the foster child


Is the process describing how foster children stay connected to people who are important to them, including relatives and previous foster carers.


A Disclosure a Barring Service check which is undertaken to see if a potential foster carer has an existing criminal record in the UK.  This process will also identify if someone has had serious charges placed against them but no conviction was made.

Delegated Authority

When the day-to-day decision making accountability for a child is passed to a foster carer.  This may include school clubs and leisure activities.

Fostering Panel

The experienced team working with a foster agency or local government body who decide if someone is ready to be a foster carer.

Local Authority

The local council that has responsibility for children’s services, including provision for looked after children and their fostering department.

Looked After Child

A child under the age of 18 who is looked after by a local authority.


The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is responsible for inspecting fostering services in England.  All independent fostering providers must be registered with Ofsted.

Pathway Plan

Is completed as a young person leaves care and describes any actions that need to be carried out by the relevant authorities, a foster carer or the young person themselves.

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

Is a key part of a child’s fostering care plan and describes arrangements in place for education or training.

Placement Plan

Is an element of the child’s overall care plan and describes how a fostering placement will meet their needs.

Private Fostering

Describes an arrangement where a parent arranges for their child under 16 (or under 18 if they are disabled) to live with someone who is not a relative for more than 28 days.  Private fostering arrangements must be notified to the local authority, who will visit periodically to ensure the welfare of the child.


As defined by the Children Act 1989 s.105 is someone who is by full blood, half blood, marriage or civil partnership the grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, or step-parent of a fostered child.

Social Worker

The professional accountable for a foster child, for planning their care and ensuring their needs are being met.

Staying Put Scheme

Supports young people to stay with a former foster carer beyond the age of 18.

Usual Fostering Limit

As defined in the Children Act 1989 Schedule 7, refers to the number of children fostered that can be fostered at any one time by an individual foster.  The current limit is three children.  Exceptions may be granted for siblings and in other exceptional circumstances.



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