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Fostering Glossary

Here are some explanations of the most common words and phrases that people use when they talk about fostering. If you are still unsure about the meaning of anything on our website, please visit our FAQs or contact us for more information.


Care Order

A Care Order is granted if a child is in need of care and protection and is unlikely to receive it at home. There are a number of pathways in which children can come into care. More information can be found on the DCYA website.

Children in Care

This is the term used to describe children and young people between the ages of 0-18 who are placed under the care of Tusla.


Fostering offers a safe and stable family home for children and young people who are unable to live with their own families and are in the care of the State.

Fostering placements can be short term or long term and can last for days, months or years. Many children return home to their birth families, but others may receive long term support before going on to live independently.

Foster Carer or Foster Parent

Foster carers (also called foster parents) care for someone else’s child/children in their home who are unable to live with their birth families. They provide a safe, secure and stable home for these children and help them work towards a brighter future.

Fostering Allowance

The foster care allowance is in respect of, and for the benefit of the foster child and therefore must be used to meet the day to day costs associated with looking after a foster child. It is not a payment or salary to foster carers. The weekly allowance is intended to cover living costs such as food, clothes, school books, basic travel and household bills.

Independent Fostering Agency

FFI is an Independent Fostering Agency. This means that we provide foster care services to Tusla – The Child and Family Agency. Tusla retain their statutory responsibilities to children placed with FFI. Tusla approve all foster carers through their foster care committees. FFI as an Independent Fostering Agency is required to adhere with relevant standards and regulations when providing a service on behalf of Tusla.


A placement is a contractual agreement between us and Tusla to provide a safe, secure environment for a child or young person within a foster family environment.


Respite involves children staying with foster carers for an agreed short period of time to give them, their family and their main carers a break. This can last for a weekend, one week or two weeks.

Tusla – The Child and Family Agency

Tusla are the statutory agency with responsibility for care and protection of all children and young people in the state.

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