Types of Fostering

Learn about the different types of fostering in the UK.

The types of fostering we offer at Family Care range from short-term placements that can last up to two years, to parent and child placements that usually last 3-6 months. 

It all depends on the needs of the young person.

If you want to become a foster carer and are wondering which type of fostering is right for you, consider the skills and experiences you have as well as what would suit you and your family best.

For those new to fostering, it can be hard to say which type will work best.  We will guide you on this. 

We will discuss the different types of fostering during your initial enquiry.  If you progress to a home visit and assessment, our experienced social workers can recommend a type of fostering that will work for you and your family.

What are the different types of Fostering in the UK?

In the UK, there are several different types of foster care placements depending on a young person’s needs. The most common options are short-term, long term, siblings, emergency, short breaks, and parent & child.

Short Term Fostering

This could be a few weeks, a few months or even longer (technically up to 2 years).

Usually the young person needs a temporary place to stay until they can return to their own family or to a long-term foster home.  

Most of the time, a young person will move to a foster home on a short-term basis to begin with.

Long Term Fostering

Short term fostering arrangements are regularly reviewed and if things go well, the young person’s plans could move to long term fostering.

For a long term agreement, foster parents should be confident they can commit to the welfare of the young person indefinitely (or until they are adults/independent).

Fostering Siblings

Brothers and sisters often benefit most from living together and we have many referrals for siblings.  Sibling groups are normally 2 or 3 children.

They can share a bedroom if this is agreed by the placing authority following a risk assessment if appropriate. 

Keep in mind that depending on age, siblings will eventually need their own bedroom space.  Especially if the plans become long term.

Emergency Fostering

These normally occur the same day a referral is made and are increasingly common, usually due to Court Orders or a disruption in the child’s existing foster home.

Foster carers will be available to support a young person at any time of the day or night and keep them safe.

Sometimes, emergency fostering turns into short term or even long term.  It is a highly valuable resource.

Short Breaks Fostering

Short Breaks fostering usually involves providing care for a weekend or during school holidays. 

It is common for short breaks to be arranged in-house, so foster carers will know a lot about the young person and what to expect.

For some newly approved carers, short breaks is a good place to start and helps build confidence in the fostering role.

Parent and Child Fostering

This is a specialist type of foster care and often requires additional training. 

Usually involving a mother and baby, the foster carers supervise interactions between parent and child and report their observations.

Enquire to Foster