Different types of foster care
What different types of fostering are there?
As a foster carer, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of the kind of care you are able to provide. Here are the different ways that you can change a child’s life:
Short Term Placements
These placements are required for short periods of time. This can mean only weeks or it can become a year or more! Often the Care Plan for the child or young person is uncertain and is still subject to assessment and further decisions. The local authority will need to make decisions about whether the child can be returned to the care of their birth family or whether a long term alternative home (placement) is needed. Foster carers work closely with the local authority social worker as you will often have a special insight into the needs of the child or young person that has lived with you.
Long Term Placements
These placements offer children and young people who are unable to return to their birth families, a secure and stable home throughout their childhood and into adulthood. This often means caring for a young person until the age of 18 years and helping prepare and develop their skills for independent living.
It is usually desirable for brothers and sisters to be able to stay together when they cannot remain in their birth family. We are asked to provide homes for sibling groups and so families who can provide care for more than one child, from the same family, are always needed.
Respite Care/Short Breaks
Applications are welcome from carers who may not have the ability or time, at this point in their lives, to provide full time care but may still be interested in helping other carers by providing them with a ‘break’. Carers are sometimes also able to offer care for children for ‘short breaks’. This extra support often enables the child or young person to remain within their birth family for much of the time.
PACT (Parent And Child Together)
These are placements of one or both parents and one or more of their own children where there are issues of parenting capability. The foster carer’s role is to help develop the parenting skills of the parent(s), whilst also providing care for the children. These are specialist placements and require additional training.