Types of fostering
There are different types of fostering. You should consider what skills and experience you have, as well as what would suit you and your family best.
Long term fostering
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 carer until they are ready to move on as an adult.
This is a long term or permanent fostering placement.
Children placed with long term foster carers are carefully matched and have a period of introductions. This type of care is usually considered for children aged six and over.
If you are not available to care for a child on a full-time basis, then you may be considered to foster part-time as a support carer. Support carers provide short, regular periods of care, such as a few days in the week, regular weekends and short breaks in the school holidays. Because support care often happens at weekends, there is an expectation that you will be able to work with the full-time foster carer to provide transport to and from your home.
These placements are important as they can offer advice and support to both the child and family. Support care can fit in with your family life while still allowing you to help young people. Support carers can also be used to provide breaks to full-time foster carers and fostered children, acting almost like extended family, with many children looking forward to spending time with their support carer and experiencing new things.
Support carers receive the Basic fostering Allowance plus levels payment, paid pro-rata for the days the children and young people stay with them.
Care for disabled children
Home from home
As a foster carer you would welcome a disabled child or young person into your home for regular overnight or weekend short breaks and occasional day care to enable the disabled children and young people to broaden their experiences, make new friendships and increase their independence. You must have experience of caring for or working with disabled children.
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 to help the child return home to their family.
Bridging placements help children return to their own family or, if this isn't possible, as a foster carer you would help the child come to terms with this decision and prepare them for a move to either an adoptive family or long-term foster home.
Fostering refugee children
Children who arrive in the UK seeking refugee status without their parents or carers usually go into the care of their nearest local authority to their point of arrival. They will often live with approved foster carers on an emergency basis while a long-term care plan and arrangements are made for them.
There were 37 refugee children in our care at the end of August from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria, Vietnam, Turkey, Asia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq and Iran aged 13 to 18 years. Four were female and 33 were male. We anticipate that this number will continue to rise.
Private fostering is an arrangement where a child or young person lives with someone who is not a close relative. It is not the same as fostering arranged by us.
If you believe you are a private foster carer, or you are thinking about placing your child with a private foster carer please contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 500 8090.