Contact is about children’s needs when they are separated from their families and the places familiar to them. At The Fostering Network, we have resources, helplines, and an online community to help foster carers understand how to navigate the complexities surrounding contact and the looked after child.

What is contact?

Contact arrangements involve the child or young person and their family members. They can include extended family and friends.

Foster carers play a crucial role in supporting children’s relationships. They need to offer a consistent, reliable base from which children can connect with their families safely. Their approach to the tasks involved in contact has implications for the welfare of their fostered children at the time and in the longer term.

Every looked after child should have their own overall care plan in which a contact plan outlines all the arrangements in relation to contact. This plan should refer specifically to how the child will maintain links with and receive information about family and friends.

From face-to-face contact to overnight stays, letters, phone calls, emails, and texts, there are a number of different ways contact with families can take place.

However, not all children must have contact with their families. Children must always be protected from people who are dangerous or pose risks to their physical or emotional welfare.

How we help foster carers

Contact publications

Contact by Jackie Slade

The Fostering Network has produced a guide on contact to help foster carers explore the issues and responsibilities involved in contact, why it is so important for children and young people, and how foster families can overcome the challenges it can pose.
This guide is available to buy online. Members of The Fostering Network receive a 50 per cent discount.

Positive Contact

Our Fostering Community Champions programme has also produced a document called Positive Contact which included top tips for foster carers regarding their role in
supporting positive contact for children and young people in their care. 

Download Positive Contact (members only)


The Fostering Network can provide an in-service training course on contact, tailored to meet your service’s needs. Email our training team for more information.

Our helplines

Our member helplines provide confidential, independent and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.

Our online community

Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.