Types Of Foster Care
Providing Belonging & Care
Every child in care is completely unique in terms of personally and their circumstances. This leads to the need to have different types of foster care placements, from a few nights, to returning to birth family, or staying in foster carer until they are an adult. During your assessment this will determine what types of foster care matches/suits you, or your family’s lifestyle, skills, and experience.
Short-Term Foster Care
Short - term fostering is when foster carers look after a child for a short period. If the plan is for a child to return home, for example if a parent is recovering from illness or getting rehoused, this is usually weeks or months, but can be longer; up to about 2 years. An example may be a foster carer cares for a child whilst an adopter is identified and then the foster carers support the transition to adoptive parents.
Long-Term Foster Care
Long-term foster care is for a foster child to remain with their foster family for years possibly until they reach independence, i.e., become adults and leave care or move on to independent living. The aim is to provide stability so they can achieve in all aspects of their life and be confident to move into adulthood in a prepared and nurtured way.
Step Down Fostering
Some children have lived in a residential setting, maybe because there was no foster placement available, or they needed a period of direct work and stability before foster care is explored. When a child is deemed ready to move from residential care to foster care, this is planned and occurs over a period. Specific financial and practical support is in place to ensure the placement is secure and supported for both parties.
Short Break/ "Respite"
This is part time fostering where a foster carer is offered weekends or some short breaks in school holidays. This could be where a child does have complex needs and gives the main foster carers a break to recharge. This can be part of the ongoing and agreed care plan for a child. This is especially important for children with disabilities.
Short breaks are planned and consistent wherever possible. Alternatively, crisis "short-breaks" occur if, for example, a child needs some time out or if a main foster carer is having a personal crisis.
Remand fostering is where the court remands children to the care of trained foster carers. Placements are often short, with carers working alongside youth offending teams.
Emergency Foster Care
Emergency placements are a type of short - term care. They occur when a child needs somewhere safe to stay due to unforeseen circumstances. They can happen at any time of the day or night. Planning will occur over a very short space of time. Your social worker will talk to you about whether you will be considered and match for emergency foster placements. For example, are you willing to consider taking an emergency in the early hours?
Parent and Child Foster Placements
Parent and child placements are a specialist area of the fostering service. They are for young parents and their children. There are specific elements of completing records to evidence the parent's parenting capacity that you will be trained or supported with.
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children
This type of foster placement is for children who arrive in the UK without their parents or carers. Many of them need support while they go through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK or to return to their country of origin. This placement may involve home office appointments whilst the process is being determined.