What is fosterage?


Fosterage, the practice of a family bringing up a child not their own, differs from adoption in that the child's parents, not the foster-parents, remain the acknowledged parents. In many modern western societies foster care can be organised by the state to care for children with troubled family backgrounds, usually on a temporary basis. In many pre-modern societies fosterage was a form of patronage, whereby influential families cemented political relationships by bringing up each other's children, similar to arranged marriages, also based on dynastic or alliance calculations.

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Some articles on fosterage:

Basic Workings - Principles of Celtic Laws in Late Prehistory - Artificial Kinship
... likely that artificial kinship, in the form of fosterage, was also an important element of these early customary laws ... that the Gauls do not suffer to be seen with their children in public, might indicate that fosterage practices were widespread ... seem to be supported by the fact that fosterage was important in both early medieval Irish and Welsh societies, and that there is a cognate terminology in Irish and Welsh for the foster-father/tea ...

More definitions of "fosterage":

  • (noun): Encouragement; aiding the development of something.
    Synonyms: fostering