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Fostering Jargon Buster

If your family has started fostering then you have probably heard words like respite, reviews and placements and wondered what on earth everyone is talking about?

November 17 2022 - 4 min read

Don’t worry our jargon buster will help you understand what everyone is talking about and if there are still phrases you don’t understand – then don’t be afraid to ask, chances are your parents are wondering the same thing!


Occasionally, children in foster care may tell someone that they have been treated badly by someone they are staying with. Social workers call this an ‘allegation’.

If an allegation is made, we have to investigate to find out whether it is true.


This is when a fostered child tells someone for the first time that someone hurt them.

When a child has been badly treated, this is called ‘abuse’. If a child tells you about something that has happened to them, you must tell your parent/s.

Fostering service

The fostering service is Foster Care Associates (FCA), the organisation which works for your parent/s as foster parents, and organises which fostered children come to stay with you, and when. Your supervising social worker works for the fostering service.


When a child goes to stay with a foster family, this is known as a ‘placement’ but we prefer to think of this as a child coming to live with you


This is a particular type of foster care, which provides a break a child or family. You might be offered this break or provide this break for a child.


These are meetings where foster parents and everyone else involved in looking after a fostered child get together to talk about what is happening with them.

Usually, the fostered child will attend too. This is when decisions are made about whether they will stay with your family or move on.

Social Worker:

There are different types of social workers. The two main types who you will meet are:

  • Child’s Social Worker (Also known as ‘Social Worker’)

    This is the social worker who supports the fostered child or young person. They work with your Supervising Social Worker. They will visit the child staying with you and also talk with you and your family.

  • Supervising Social Worker

    This is the social worker who supports and supervises your family. They work with the Social Worker who is supporting the child/children staying with you.

    They will visit you and will also talk to any fostered children that are living with you.

    Your Supervising Social Worker can help to answer your questions.

Birth Parents

This is the foster child’s parents.

Foster to Adopt

A type of foster placement mainly for babies and young children where the plan is likely to be adoption, but who still have a chance of being reunited with their birth family.


This is short for Speech and Language Therapy. Speech and language therapy is a treatment or support for people and children who have difficulties with communication or eating, drinking and swallowing.

Offen SALTs are involved in helping foster children who may be behind or have trouble with communication.

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