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Why foster with us?

Man reading bedtime story to child


Essex County Council plays a crucial role in safeguarding the most vulnerable people in Essex, supporting more than 6,500 children and young people, including 1,000 who are in care. We strive to close the gap in social, educational, health and economic outcomes for disadvantaged youngsters, giving each child the knowledge, support and security they need for a successful future.

What we offer

We have been placing children who need homes with suitable foster parents for more than 50 years. As we oversee all foster children in Essex, our foster carers have the best chance of being matched with children that suit their circumstances and families. This gives them the best chance of being matched with children that suit their preferences and families. And as we focus exclusively on Essex, with offices and professional staff across the county, our carers never need to travel far for training, meetings or events.

Helping children enjoy life

Being a non-profit organisation our sole focus is the wellbeing of the children in our care. Reflecting this whole-hearted commitment, in 2019 Ofsted judged our fostering services as ‘outstanding’. It said: “Children in care and care leavers enjoy and benefit from a wide range of activities and opportunities that enable them to enjoy life and make good progress.”

We welcome carers from all backgrounds; whatever their nationality, age, faith or sexual orientation, whether they are single or in a relationship, with or without children, and in rented or owned accommodation. 

Full support for carers

Our foster carers receive a full package of practical, financial and professional support; from 28 days paid holiday and competitive fees to high-quality bespoke training and, if required, counselling from our clinical psychologists.

We’re also very flexible and will accommodate the individual needs of your family where possible. We are happy, for instance, for foster carers to work part- or full-time, and to take in children for short stays or years. Our full range of training and support for foster carers and their families can be found here. 

Our local teams of clinical psychologists and mental health coordinators give children and foster carers in Essex access to the highest standard of support. As well as supporting children in care, they help foster families, adopters and special guardians manage anxieties, stresses and other challenges. Visit Psychologists' Corner for a taste of how they can support you and your family.

An exciting development in Essex over the last year has been the launch of the Oasis Network. This is an extended family model of fostering which involves a central family (Oasis Foster Carers) who support a number of foster families (Network Foster Carers). The Oasis carers organise regular social activities involving the Network carers and their children, organised and emergency sleepovers for the children as well as practical and emotional support for carers in the network.

Watch our video to find out how the Oasis Network provides support, stability and community for foster carers and children in Essex. You can download an information leaflet here.

Investing in vulnerable children and young people

Our foster carers have the satisfaction of knowing that fostering with us means that we can invest more in vulnerable youngsters. Independent fostering agencies charge around 40% more than the cost of care; the money we save by arranging placements ourselves goes straight back into supporting children.

To find out more call 0800 801 530, email us on or come to a local fostering information event.

Could you foster?

There are around 800 children in foster homes in the county. However, we need around 100 more homes for local children, as Essex – like the rest of UK – has a shortage of foster carers. We particularly need homes for siblings, older children and youngsters with disabilities.

or to talk to our friendly recruitment team call 0800 801 530

“The county council gives you a lot of support and training.” Pearl, Essex County Council foster carer since 2008



“Local authority foster carers commented positively on the high quality of support and training given to them.” Ofsted, 2019





“I feel 100% supported. If there is a problem I know it can get immediately sorted.” Ian, Essex County Council foster carer since 2007





£590k invested by Essex County Council in 2018 in adapting family homes for fostered and adopted children.