Types of Foster Care
There are a number of different types of care for which carers can be approved based on their preferences, skills and accommodation and family composition.
Many of our short term placements are placed in an emergency. You will not have the opportunity to meet the child or young person beforehand and you have to be ready to accept the child when they arrive. Due to the nature of the emergency they may be brought to you by a duty social worker or the Police. The child or young person will require additional reassurance and welcome from you.
A great deal of flexibility from our foster carers is required as once you have agreed to a placement they will quickly be placed with you. Emergency fostering usually lasts for a few days while the future plans for the child are made, however it can sometimes lead to a short-term or long-term placement.
Our short term foster carers offer full-time placements for children aged from birth to 18 years who cannot remain with their birth families for reasons of neglect or abuse or because of the breakdown of family relationships. Placements can be relatively short lasting from one day to several months or may extend to a couple of years if there are complex court proceedings. It is not a permanent placement and children will either return home or will move to permanent substitute carers.
In short term fostering there is usually frequent contact between the child and their birth family. Short term fostering can include both planned and emergency placements.
If children cannot return home or be cared for by a member of their extended family they may be placed in a long term foster home where carers are committed to care for a young person until they are 18 and be a presence in their life into adulthood.
Children placed with long term carers will be those for whom adoption is either unsuitable because they want to maintain links with their family or because an adoptive family cannot be found. Long term foster children tend to be older than most children who are adopted.
Unlike adoption when the child becomes the legal responsibility of the carers, long-term foster carers share responsibility for the child with the birth parents and the local authority.
There is likely to be some contact with family but at longer intervals than that of short term care – possibly face to face three to four times per year in addition to other forms of communication. Often contact is with other siblings who have been placed elsewhere as well as birth parents.
Respite foster carers provide care for children for very short periods of time. They may be used to give foster carers who are experiencing very challenging behaviour from a child or who may be caring for a child with significant disability.
In some instances where a carer requests a holiday break without the children in their care respite care may be agreed. It is however expected that carers will take children with them on holiday.
Parent and Child
We passionately believe that all children need a loving and safe home and where possible if a child can remain with their parents we believe this is a positive outcome. Child and parent fostering is where you offer a home to both parent and child (or maybe to both parents and the child). The parent may be under 18 and will be a looked after child themselves. Sometimes they will be placed during the pregnancy so you can help them prepare.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children
We are looking for foster carers to specialise in looking after children who may have been separated from their families and home countries. As you can expect these children are often extremely distressed and frightened as a result of the overwhelming experience they have been through. Fostering young people who are seeking asylum does come with its challenges but is also hugely rewarding as you start see them settle into their new life in the UK. In some cases the children will speak little or no English.