Could you provide a home for Reading children and young people who cannot live with their birth families?

Every child deserves a decent start in life and to have the guidance, confidence and love they need to fulfil their potential.

Both fostering and adoption are needed when a child cannot stay with their birth family. Fostering is usually a temporary arrangement, whereas adoption means a child will become a permanent member of the adoptive family.

Brighter Futures for Children set up its not-for-profit fostering agency in March 2019. The IFA has now been rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’ (March 2022).

You can find out more about what we do on our dedicated fostering website

Adopt Thames Valley is a regional adoption agency (RAA) working together across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and the Swindon area, to recruit and support a range of adopters, and find forever families for children. You can find out more at

What is fostering?

Fostering offers children and young people a safe and caring home when they are unable to live with their birth family. This can often be a child’s first positive experience of family life. By becoming a foster carer, you can help to make a significant difference to a child’s life.

We are on a mission to connect with everyone in Reading to help us find more foster carers, so we can keep our local children and young people rooted in Reading and give them a brighter future.

We are looking for people from all walks of life and experiences who have a spare room and live within 20 miles of Reading.

You can contact our friendly fostering team on 0118 469 3020 or email

Visit our website:

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two mothers with child in winter wear

What is adoption?

Adoption is a lifetime commitment to raise a child who, for whatever reason, can no longer be brought up by their birth parents or within the birth family.

Adoption is extraordinarily rewarding and a life changing experience for families who adopt and for the children and young people who join their families.

People choose to adopt for a variety of reasons. Some because they are unable to have a child biologically, and others who feel they wish to share their family life with a child who may need them.

Adopters become the legal parents of children. When an Adoption Order is granted, adopters assume the right to make decisions about the child and their upbringing. Once adopted, a child no longer has any legal connection to their birth family. The child assumes the surname of the new parents and receives an adoption certificate to replace their birth certificate. They become a permanent and full member of the new family. The Adoption Order cannot be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances, if the legal process has not been properly followed.

At Brighter Futures for Children our adoption service is offered by our regional adoption agency, Adopt Thames Valley (ATV). ATV is a partnership of seven local authorities and three voluntary adoption agencies across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and the Swindon area. ATV works on behalf of Brighter Futures for Children and other partners, to recruit and support a range of adopters, and to find forever families for children both locally and nationally.

If you wish to find out more about adoption in the Reading area or if this is the time for you to begin your adoption journey, please contact ATV on 0800 731 0171 or visit the Adopt Thames Valley website.

You can read our Adoption Agency Statement of Purpose here.

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. If you are currently private fostering or thinking of entering a private fostering arrangement, you need to notify your local authority. In Reading, this is Brighter Futures for Children.

Grandfather blowing bubbles on park bench with young toddler boy

What is family and friends foster care?

When a child cannot be cared for by their parent/s or another person with parental responsibility and is in the care of the local authority (in Reading, that means us), we have a duty to explore whether the child can be cared for by an immediate or wider family member.

This may include grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles or a family friend. If a potential carer is identified, they can be assessed and approved as Family and Friends Foster Carer/s before the child is placed with them.
In exceptional circumstances, Brighter Futures for Children can temporarily approve a family member or friend as a foster carer for a time limited period, while the child is placed with them and the fostering assessment is completed. For this to happen, a viability assessment will be undertaken to determine whether the proposed placement is the most appropriate for the child.