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Types of Foster Care

There are various types of foster care placements you may be asked to consider, such as short term fostering, long term or emergency foster care.

When becoming a foster carer, you will become accustomed to the special needs of the children and young people waiting for a placement. Over time, you may then become specialised in certain different types of fostering placement. For example, children with disabilities and behavioural difficulties may need homes with specialist skills, whereas other registered carers may need short-term respite breaks. Children being transitioned from short-term care to permanent families may need an intermediary foster home, and some carers take in babies while others have a great deal of experience with disabled children.

The types of foster care placements can be broken down into the following list:

Some children are placed in foster care on a long-term basis. This can be from a young age until they are old enough to leave care at around the ages of 16-18. Often, short term or emergency foster placements can turn into long term foster care placements, and these are also be known as permanent foster placements.

Short-term placements, also known as temporary foster placements, provide a temporary home for a child or young person. This could be until they return home to their birth family or leave care, or before they move on to long-term fostering or adoption. Short-term fostering often begins as emergency fostering – from when a sudden trauma or event in families results in children needing immediate placement.

Find our more about the key differences between long term and short term fostering before making any decisions.

Children can be taken out of their family home in an emergency. Sometimes little is known about the child/situation, but foster care is provided to look after the young person. This could be due to an incident that has happened in the home where the child is no longer safe – and needs immediate protection/sanctuary. Emergency foster care is a type of short term fostering.

Remand fostering is an alternative to police custody. It is a specialised type of fostering aiming to remove young people from a police environment, allowing them space to think differently. This is where foster carers work with youth offending teams and accompany a young person back and forth from court. Usually, it’s not a long-term measure - and can be arranged at very short notice.

Therapeutic fostering is a type of fostering which requires special training and education in looking after children with complex needs. Therapeutic foster carers then become part of a specialist therapy team. Therapeutic fostering placements can be long-term or short-term. Carers have more training and a more comprehensive toolset to deal with more challenging behaviours.

Parents (mother/father/both) can be placed in foster care together with their baby/child/children. The needs vary but specially trained foster carers look after the parent(s) and child(ren) and ensure safety while the parent(s) are assessed. This can be when a mother has a baby and it’s a difficult experience for her, meaning she needs extra help - yet adequate support is not always available from her family or friends. In a lot of cases, the mother of this placement could also be a young girl herself.

Following on from the above, parent and child fostering requires an assessment period, which takes place over a three-month period. This is usually undertaken by a qualified Capstone social worker, or a social worker from a local authority. Learn more about what is assessed during the parent and child assessment period, and what happens when the parents are signed off from the foster care placement.

Respite foster care is a type of short-term fostering placement where a child would be placed with a foster family in order to provide a breather to the current family. This could be for the birth family, adoption family, or a foster family. Respite foster care typically lasts from between a weekend to a weeklong break, and it can be made a regular part of the foster child’s routine.

Regardless of the different types of foster care you can be part of, your local authority is always taking in children and young people who need a safe place to stay. Although there is a need for all types of foster placements, short-term foster placements are the most common.

If you’re still unsure on which type of fostering is for you, we’re here to help. Here at Capstone Foster Care, we are able to work with carers and provide the support and benefits required.Our knowledge centre is filled with articles to help answer common questions on all aspects of fostering.

For more information on the different types of foster care or further advice on fostering in general, contact Capstone Foster Care today

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
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