Short term fostering can be anything from an overnight stay to a few weeks, to several months.
Short term foster carers provide a home for a child whilst social workers work with and support their family to bring about change and make plans for the child’s future.
The aim of all short term foster placements is to work closely with everyone involved in order to support the child until they can either return home safely or if this is not possible, move to a permanent placement. This permanent placement will either be through adoption or long term fostering. Sometimes, if a short term carer has developed a bond with the child, they may then decide, if appropriate, to become that child’s carer long-term.
Long term fostering is fostering a child until they are grown up.
It is very different to adoption as the families continue to have the support of children’s services as a foster carer but care for a child into adulthood.
Sometimes, it will never be appropriate for a child to return to their family, but they may still need to maintain links with them, so adoption is not the right path. Long term fostering is about providing a permanent home for a child, nurturing them as part of your family until they are 18 years old or older.
Sometimes we need to place a child in an emergency because they are at risk of being harmed or because there has been an unforeseen issue that prevents the family from being able to care for the child or children.
Emergency carers are prepared to take a child into their home at very short notice, often at weekends or in the middle of the night, and sometimes with very little information.
This is a specialist scheme which links disabled children, of all ages, to foster families.
The children with disabilities who require short breaks are not in the care of the Local Authority. They live at home with their parents, and we provide short breaks to help families to have some ‘time off’, to recharge their batteries, spend time with their other children, and also to allow the child to expand their social circle.
This is a very flexible type of fostering as carers can offer from a few hours to several days depending on what free time they have available. Short breaks offer both the child and their families a valuable break.
Our weekly fostering allowances for newly recruited carers range from £295 to £495 per child, per week. Short break carers will be paid on a pro rata basis.
Friends and family foster care are not ‘recruited’ by our service.
Before any child enters care and is placed with a recruited carer, as detailed above, – social workers will always seek a person who has a significant relationship with that child, to see if they could be in a position to care for them. This could be extended family members such as aunts, uncles, grandparents or family friends.
Assessments are done to see if any of these people are in a position to be able to care for the child. If they are not, or often, if there is not anyone put forward to assess, the child will then be placed with one of our recruited carers.
Our friends and family leaflet will provide more information on this type of foster care.