Types of foster care

Foster carer and teenage boy

Mainstream fostering

There are two types of mainstream fostering these are short term and long term fostering.

Short-term fostering

Most children come into care short-term whilst social workers complete assessments in order to make plans for a child to either return to their birth family or to find a permanent placement through adoption or long-term fostering. As a short term foster carer you will offer a home to lots of different children over time.

Long-term fostering

Most children who are fostered return to their birth family, but for some this is not possible and therefore these children require a long-term foster home. Many children who need long term homes are aged 8 years and above and often need a foster home that they can share with their brothers and sisters. Caring for a child long term means you support them into young adulthood. This often includes supporting their contact with their birth family over the years.

Sometimes our young people stay with their foster carers after their 18thbirthday, this is known as ‘staying put’.

Other types of fostering 

Parent and child fostering

Some young parents need support to care for their own baby. As a foster carer you could be provide a home to a young parent as well as their baby. If you do this type of foster care, you will  show the young person how to best care for their baby by offering support and guidance.

Social workers may be unsure if such a young parent can care for their baby and so this will provide a period of assessment for the parent and baby.

Fostering children seeking asylum

Some children arrive in the UK from overseas and have no adult travelling with them. They have often had difficult journeys to get to the UK and are often traumatised by this experience.

Many children seeking asylum are young males and will need support in registering for services such as health and education.

These young men usually have limited English so you will need to have a lot of patience and empathy to be their foster carer. 

Step Up fostering

Step Up fostering helps to find foster carers for children and young people who are ready to leave residential care. Step Up fostering is best suited to individuals who have previous experience of working with children and young people. 

Find out more about Step Up fostering