Explained: 5 Types of Fostering in the UK
21st June 2021
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Foster carers are specially trained to help and assist vulnerable children and families in times of difficulty. Both carers, children, and their parents are all unique individuals, and each situation that requires foster care will be different. As a result, there are different types of foster care, each one designed to help individuals in specific scenarios.

These different types of foster care are suitable for different people, and each demands different specialist training. Some foster carers will be approved for more than one type of role.


1. Long-Term Foster Care

In a long-term foster care placement, a court will decide that a child cannot return to living with their birth family. So, they’ll remain with their carers for several years—often until they become adults and can live independently.


Because of the long-term nature of these placements, foster children often become a member of the family for life, developing a strong and rewarding relationship with their carers, who, in turn, become valued role models for the children.


2.  Short-Term Foster Care

Short-term foster carers offer children a temporary home in the interim period while Local Authorities decide whether they are to be moved to another foster family long-term or can return to their own family.


Helping children deal with this transitional step and assisting them in preparing for the next stage is crucial for this kind of foster care. It could last just a few days but could also be a lot longer—sometimes several months.


3.  Emergency Foster Care

This is an unplanned foster placement that takes place at short notice, sometimes less than 24 hours in advance.

These children are in immediate need of a home for a variety of reasons. Their own homes may have become suddenly unsafe due to health or addiction problems, or they may be dealing with sudden bereavement. Due to the diverse and unpredictable nature of these placements, carers need to have a degree of flexibility and the ability to make children feel safe and secure quickly while an alternative home is being arranged. Emergency foster care typically doesn’t last longer than two weeks.


4.    Parent-Child Foster Care

Sometimes families need assistance learning the responsibilities and requirements of parenthood. Parent-child foster placements are when carers offer a home to a parent and their child, or sometimes both parents and multiple children.

Typically lasting around three months, these placements offer vulnerable families the chance to learn from experienced caregivers and develop the skills necessary to create a safe and nurturing environment for their children. 


5.    Respite Foster Care

This is a type of short-term foster care for emergency or ongoing support for either families or long-term foster carers. Often these children may have special needs or behavioural issues, and carers will look after them for a short time while their parents or foster carers have a break. Respite carers are often approved for other types of foster care too.


Different Options for Different Situations

When a situation arises that requires foster carers, it’s essential to consider the child’s unique needs and ensure they get the right kind of help. Different types of foster placements are available, depending on the situation. There’s a huge need for foster carers of all types throughout the country, from Milton Keynes to Maidstone.


If you have been thinking about fostering and would like further information, please contact our recruitment team today.

Anchor Foster Care Providing Safety, Stability & Hope. Anchor Foster Care is a family run, independent, not-for-profit organisation proactively working to provide the right kind of care and support to children and young people in our care.

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