What does it mean? – F

This page is part of our handy list of definitions and explanations of some of the terms that you might have come across but didn’t know what they meant. If you think we’ve missed something, let us know, and we’ll look at added it to the list. 

These are the entries for F. You can see other entries by clicking the letters below.


Family Group Conference

Sometimes social workers organise a meeting to bring a whole family together to see if they can help solve a problem together. This is called a Family Group Conference and can involve mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, even grandparents and neighbours. The family group conference can happen more than once.

Family Practitioner

This is someone from who works directly with families at home to help them with parenting skills, budgeting and all aspects of caring for a family well.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is where some of a girl’s private parts are cut away. It is a tradition in some parts of the world. It is extremely painful and harmful to the emotional wellbeing of the girl and is against the law in this country. If you are worried about what might happen to you or someone you know or if it has happened to you, talk to a teacher at school, a support worker or another trusted professional. All women and girls have the right to control what happens to their bodies and the right to say no to FGM.

Here is what the NHS says about FGM.


Fostering is where a trained carer is paid and supported to look after a child or children, in their own home, who cannot live with their birth family.

Fostering Agency

A fostering agency is a business that sometimes provides Devon County Council with foster carers and foster placements.

Fostering Allowance

This is the money that a foster carer is paid for looking after a child or young person.

Foster Carers

Foster carers are members of the public who choose to look after children who are not their own. They are trained and get paid to do this. Foster carers come from all different backgrounds and are different ages with different levels of experience. Social workers try to match children with a carer who they think they’d get along with.

Fostering Social Worker

This is a social worker for the foster carer. It is their job to supervise the foster carers and sort out any problems that might happen in the foster placement.

Foster placement (Long Term)

This is when a foster placement has been identified for you and is where it is planned for you to stay until you are eighteen years old, or whenever you are ready to move out.

Foster placement (Short Term)

It may be that you are coming into care then returning home, or that you are waiting for a long-term carer to be found for you, or maybe that you’re going to be adopted. A short-term foster carer may look after you for a few weeks or months but the plan will always be for you to move somewhere else, either to a long-term carer, into your own place or back home.

Foster placement (Emergency)

Sometimes emergencies happen and social workers need to have places they can take children at short notice. An emergency placement will probably only last a few days while people try and solve whatever problems the emergency has thrown up.

Further Education

Further education is any education that takes place past the age of 16 but before University. It can be academic (often in school or college) or vocational (in a workplace).