When families reach a point where they can’t look after their own children. we need to offer help by providing a foster home. This may only be for a short period of time, or there may be long standing difficulties that will take time to resolve.
As part of the assessment process, we will help you to decide what type of fostering and age range will be most suited to your skills, interests and family lifestyle. Some carers are approved for under-5s, 7-11 years or teenagers; your approval will be individual and will be reviewed annually.
For each of the schemes detailed below we have a particular need for carers who can foster groups of brothers and sisters. These children may have experienced many changes in their lives and helping them stay together maintains security and stability.
Some children and young people need foster care for a short period of time. This can be anything from three to six months - with the aim being to help the child return home to their family as soon as possible. However, in some cases there are children for whom our efforts to return them to their birth family do not work, and they remain in bridging placements whilst plans are made to move them to long term foster care or adoption. Foster carers help children come to terms with the decisions that have been made about their future and prepare them for their next move.
When a child or young person cannot return to live with their family and the plan is to move them to long term fostering, there is an expectation that they will live with the carers' family until they are ready to move on as an adult.
Children placed with long term foster carers are carefully matched and have a period of introductions. This type of care is usually considered for older children aged 8 and over to enable them to grow up in a safe, supportive foster home whilst keeping in touch with their birth family.
Carers provide guidance and support to help a child/young person move on to independence.
Support foster care
This service provides a break to full time foster carers and is typically one weekend a month or an occasional overnight stay on a planned basis, plus support during school holidays.
Support care might also provide a break to parents and children or young people when relationships in families become tense, or when families need time to recuperate.
Private fostering is an arrangement that is made for the care of a child or young person under the age of 16 (or 18 where the child has disabilities) by someone other than a parent or close relative (grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle).
We run the following specialist fostering schemes:
Emergency fostering scheme - we need emergency foster carers who are able to foster a young person in crisis, often at short notice.
14plus foster care - this scheme is for foster carers who are able to make a commitment to provide a long term placement for a young person aged 14 years and over.
Short breaks for disabled children - this scheme helps to give parents or carers a break.
Fostering futures - this scheme aims to ensure our most challening children are cared for in a family home.