Types of fostering

Ensuring all children are in the right placement at the right time.

Foster carers are trained and approved for specific types of fostering, depending on their skills and experience and what commitment they feel able to offer.

Emergency foster care provides a placement for a child or children who need somewhere safe to stay for a few nights, while social workers establish what is needed in the longer-term. Emergency carers will often be called upon at very short notice, and potentially may be needed late at night.

Short-term foster care provides a placement for a child or children for a few weeks or months while long-term placement plans are made for the child. Short-term care is classed as being anything up to two years. Carers would likely get some period of notice before a child’s arrival, but it may not be very long.

Short break foster care provides pre-planned, regular placements for children who have disabilities, special needs or behavioural difficulties. Short break carers could offer anything from for a few hours care each week to a weekend every fortnight, giving birth family or full-time foster carers a break.

Respite foster care provides a short stay, usually pre-planned, for a child in care. Children could stay with respite carers for up to a fortnight, although in some circumstances it could be longer. Respite care exists to support their full-time fostering arrangement. Respite carers may be expected to commit to offering a minimum number of nights respite per year, and a carer’s allowance should be clearly outlined in the fostering service’s policies.

Remand foster care provides a placement for young people in England and Wales who are remanded by the court into care of a specially trained foster carer.

Parent and child foster care offers a home and support to a young parent and their child, helping the parent learn how to care for their child in the long term. Often this will be a new mother and her baby, although occasionally this provision will be offered to a parent and a toddler or to birth fathers keen to care for a new baby when the birth mother is unable to. The parents are often teenagers themselves.

Support care provides a placement for a child who is living with their birth families on a regular basis to support the family and help prevent the child coming into foster care full time.

Long-term or permanent foster care provides a long-term placement for looked after children. Not all children who cannot return to their birth family should go on to be adopted and some continue to have regular contact with their birth families. These children and young adults need a secure and caring long-term home until they reach adulthood.

Fostering an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) is where a non-British child has arrived alone into the country and claimed asylum, and is cared for by foster carers in the UK. Unless the child can return safely to their country of origin they will be allowed to stay in the UK until they are at least 18. Most unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are teenagers.

Fostering to adopt, also called concurrent care or early permanence placement (EPP), is where prospective carers are approved for both fostering and adoption, and children are placed who are highly likely to be adopted but have not yet been granted a placement order. Many children are placed at birth or when very young. Fostering to adopt reduces the number of potential moves a child will experience. Find out more about fostering to adopt here.

If you are considering fostering, we would love to help you explore this further. Contact us through the form below or call our enquiry line on 0300 001 0995 and one of our team will be pleased to talk with you.

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