What are the different types of fostering?
There are several different types of fostering, and it’s important you understand the differences before deciding which one to do
Respite or Short Break
This is where you will look after a child for a short defined period of time, usually between 1 night and 2 weeks. It is often used to allow a child’s full time foster carer a bit of space to rejuvenate.
Carers sometimes only take children in emergencies, who need to be placed immediately. Generally these placements will be used to keep a child safe, whilst the local authority looks for a more suitable match.
Short term fostering
This type of fostering is used to give a home to a child whilst a long term plan is put in place. This might be working the with birth family to facilitate a return, or whilst an adopter is found. Generally these placements last less than 2 years.
Long term fostering/permanent
Carers will often make a long term commitment to a child, which will mean they will stay with them until 18 (and beyond). It’s still called fostering rather than adoption, as often this allows a support package to be kept in place.
Parent and child placements
Rather than coming into care, sometimes we are asked to find homes for both a parent and a child, this is often where the parent is quite young, and needs guidance and support in looking after their child. As a parent and child foster carer, you can make a real difference to a young parent.
This type of placement is instead of a child being remanded in custody. Generally only very experienced carers will take them, and they will be very closely supported.
Fostering to adopt
You can be approved to adopt alongside your fostering assessment – this is when you know you want to make a commitment to look after a child for it’s lifetime.