What is Long-Term Foster Care?

Do you know in the UK, about 82,170 teenagers and young ones live in the care of foster families? By 2022, there were about 36,000 approved mainstream fostering houses. The Foster care system is a reliable system designed to provide young people with a safe environment for better development. 

Like everywhere, England also has some rules that should be followed if a couple wants to be foster parents. And that’s why understanding about the foster care system is very crucial. Although foster care is of many types, this article focuses on specifically on long-term foster care. 

It is a common belief that foster care is the same as adoption, which is a major misconception. Here is all you need to know about long-term fostering.

What You Need To Know About Foster Care

Foster care is a temporary arrangement in which a family provides care to young people who cannot live with their biological parents.

Sometimes, the birth parents, for various reasons, cannot care for their child. In these circumstances, they are placed under foster care

About 43,905 foster families are living in England, with around 57,540 young people living with foster parents (as recorded on 31 March 2022). The foster parents work with a certified local authority – the IFA. They work together to provide the young ones with a safe and nurturing environment they can call home. 

Learn more about different types of fostering here

What Does Long-Term Foster Mean?

Long-term foster care is an arrangement in which the foster family cares for the young person until they reach adulthood. Long-term foster care does not relate to the length of time the young one lives with a foster family. Instead, the family is responsible for the young ones until they can leave their care. 

This type of fostering mostly happens when there is no chance of reconciliation with the birth parents. Once the young person is legally an adult, they can care for themselves, and foster care will not be responsible for them.

One thing to remember is that long-term fostering is entirely different from adoption. In the long term, the young ones still get social support from the legal authorities. Long-term foster care is a good option as it brings stability to the lives of young ones and gives a greater sense of belonging to a family. 

What Is A Long-Term Foster Placement?

There is no set duration for a long-term foster placement. It can vary in length depending on the age of the child.

In the UK, three conditions determine long-term foster placements as defined by the local authority:

  • Foster care is designated as a long-term arrangement in the child’s care plan.
  • The foster parent has committed to providing care for the child until their need for care no longer exists.
  • The local authority and the child’s family have agreed that the child will remain under the care of the foster parent.

Pros Of Long-Term Foster Care

Long Term Foster care is a great decision in the long run. Following are some of the pros of choosing long-term foster care:

  • Long-Term Stability: Long-term foster care provides a sense of stability to the young ones. It provides consistency to a person, and a sense of belonging prevails, giving them a safer feeling. Moreover, it gives them an overview of what having a family feels like. This type of environment helps them to grow up into a sensible person. 
  • Positive Development Of The Young Person: As a foster parent, you can have a long-lasting positive impact on the young one’s life. A healthy and nurturing environment can have positive outcomes, and you can be a role model for the young ones. This type of upbringing can contribute to the young person’s successful career. 
  • Continuation Of Relationship: In many circumstances, due to familial attachments, even after reaching the adult age, the relationship between the foster parents and the young one continues. The young ones develop a lasting relationship with foster parents, so both agree on keeping in touch for a more extended time.
  • More extended Support: The legal authorities provide long-term support to the foster parents if they choose long-term foster care. The parents continuously receive the foster allowance and other social support they need to raise the young one until he ages out of the care. 

What Is The Hardest Part Of Fostering?

The very common difficulties that most foster parents face are:

  • Securing a license: The licensing process of becoming a foster parent is not very easy. It involves screening and training. The requirements and the process time vary from state to state. In the UK, it takes 4-5 months for this process to complete. 
  • Not knowing what to do: In many cases, the starters are completely unaware of what to do; whether they are a suitable candidate, what type of fostering to opt for, and how to foster a younger person. However, with the right guidance and resources, anyone can conquer this battle

Who Is Most Likely To End Up In Foster Care?

There are several reasons that a young one may end up in foster care. Some common causes are:

  • Child Abuse, including physical, sexual and mental abuse
  • Medical neglect
  • Juvenile offense
  • Death of parents
  • Abandoning by the parents

Thinking Of Long-Term Fostering?

Foster care is a great responsibility; however, it can have a positive impact on both the young ones and the family. Are you considering long-term fostering in the UK but don’t know how and where to start? No worries, Family Care UK is the place to relieve all your concerns about long-term Foster care. 

Whether you want to inquire about the application process, training programs, or the criteria for fostering, you can get all the information from us. Take a short quiz to determine if you determine the requirements of foster parents, or contact our team for better guidance. 

 Could You Be a Foster Parent?

 The shortage of foster carers in the UK greatly affects vulnerable children.

This can result in children being placed far from their loved ones and being separated from their siblings, as well as their school and friends.

 Did you know that historically, 70-80% of foster placements have been within 20 miles of the child’s home? While this benefits many children who can maintain their school and friendship groups, it also means that 20-30% of placements are further away.

 For children coming to live with our foster families at an average age of 10, a change of school is often inevitable. However, we are dedicated to finding families in local areas with high demand to minimise disruptions. 

If you live in the Northwest or the Midlands and are interested in exploring becoming a foster carer, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Read about our application process here.

 Get in touch with us by completing our short inquiry form online or call us at 0800 5 677677.

There is no obligation for anything more than a chat.


Start Your Fostering Journey Today


Embarking on the journey of fostering is a significant decision that can profoundly impact your family and the life of a young person in need. 

By preparing yourself, choosing the right time and place for conversations, and approaching the topic with openness and honesty, you can foster a supportive and understanding environment. 

Addressing concerns, sharing resources, seeking professional guidance when needed, and showing patience and understanding are essential steps in navigating this process together. 

Family Care understands the importance of support for foster carers and is committed to providing the necessary assistance throughout this incredible journey. 

With our dedicated team by your side, you can begin this fulfilling experience knowing that help and guidance are just a call away. 

Together, you can make a positive difference in a child’s life, creating a loving and nurturing home that will leave a lasting impact.

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109 children come into care every day in the UK...