There are various types of fostering such as emergency, respite, short term, long term, specialist short breaks, connected person foster care and intensive fostering.
Emergency foster care
Emergency foster carers provide care for children when they need to be looked after in an emergency situation. This type of fostering is unpredictable and requires flexibility and the ability to remain calm in a crisis situation. Emergency placements can last from an hour to a few weeks.
Respite foster care
Respite foster carers provide respite care for children when they or their family need a break to support family functioning and relationships. This service is also used to support foster carers who might need some time to recuperate. Respite can be provided on a daytime basis as well as over-night. The duration can be flexible and in accordance with the presenting need.
Short term foster care
Short term foster carers provide care for children on a short term basis when they cannot live with their family and friends. Short term placements can last from a few weeks to 2 years, depending on the situation and the complexities involved. Short term foster carers require a raft of skills essential to meeting the needs of children, including a stable and nurturing home environment that is inclusive, child focused and supports children to thrive.
Long term foster care
Long term foster carers provide long term care for children who cannot live with their family and friends. This is on a permanent basis and is meant to provide children with a sense of belonging to a specific family who can provide a secure base and long term commitment to meeting their needs. Children living in long term foster placements who turn 18, can now remain with their carers under a new policy called 'Living Together' where this is agreed by the young person and carer. This affords the young person ongoing support whilst they transition to independent living.
Specialist short break care
Specialist short break carers provide 1 to 1 support to enable a child to access safe and appropriate social activities and life skills within the community or the carers own home. Sessions are usually for 3 hours but can be over night where this is needed. Specialist short break carers need to be motivated to support children and families living with complex needs. The additional benefit of this service is that is provides parents or carers time away from their additional caring responsibilities.
Connected person foster care
Connected person foster care is provided by persons who are connected to the child when they cannot live with birth parents. This includes family and friends and others who have a established connection with the child. Connected person placements can be short or long term.
Intensive foster care
Intensive fostering is specialist fostering service for children and young people who present with highly complex needs and challenging behaviour which prevents them from being placed within mainstream fostering or residential facilities. This a full time commitment and carers are supported with a specific fee for their services. The length of these placements is determined by the care plan and the best interests of the child concerned.
Parent and child care placement
Placements for parents and their children are provided when the parent requires additional support transitioning into parenthood. This can be provided by an experienced mainstream foster carer or an intensive foster carer, depending on the circumstances or needs. The length of these placements is varied and can be from a few weeks to several months.