I am currently rewriting a formal agreement regarding a fostered child. The Foster Carers have specifically asked to be referred to as Foster Carers as opposed to Parents in all correspondence to them. In the original document, there are a lot of references to "the family". Should this be replaced with "the foster family", or is there a better choice of words.

I am not able to contact the carers to ask for their preference.

  • I think I would probably call them the fostering family to distinguish them from the natural family, or birth family.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:15
  • @WS2 I agree that fostering family would be better, but the inclusion of the word family still sounds too intimate to me, as they specifically asked to be called foster carers, and not foster parents. I can't think of any alternative myself though. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:28
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    How about foster care providers? Because "foster carers" sounds odd to me. And I do feel that "foster family" is your best bet, becuase foster modifies family and clearly indicates that the child is not their own.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:36
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    @AdiBradfield It is my understanding that fostering authorities (I speak of the UK) prefer to place older children with families. Experience suggests they settle more quickly where there are other children, than with childless couples. (It works differently with babies). For this reason the fostering family as a whole, is a vital component to the whole process. Thus I believe it important to retain the word family.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 13:00
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    If you only mean the parents, you could use "guardians" (as in "legal guardians") however this would not at all reference any children in the foster family. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 13:14

2 Answers 2



An added reinforcement to this suggestion is that fact that it is a legally recognized description of "people living together in a single domestic arrangement (whether family or not)" and as such is commonly used in tax codes and similar documents.


If "family" means the people who are fostering but not the fostered children then "fosterers" would be an option but perhaps a bit cold. If "family" includes both the fosterers and the fostered children then "household" mentioned above sounds right to me.

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