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 weeks or even 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 discuss this during your initial enquiry and during the home visit, and we can recommend a type of fostering for you.

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 days, a few months or even longer.  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 if the plans become long term, the siblings will need their own bedroom.

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 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.

No matter the type of fostering you do, it is important you are properly supported.

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