There are many different situations that may cause a child be placed in a foster home and each of these situations requires a slightly different type of fostering placement, with situations as unique as the children and families themselves. Offering a range of fostering solutions means that we are able to meet the needs of all the children that come into our care.
With many different reasons why a child cannot be cared for in the family home and a variety of time periods that foster care may last, there are 4 main types of foster care which are long-term, respite, short term and emergency foster placements. Each type of placement meets a specific need and is there to provide the best solution possible to the foster child and their family.
Each type of care is used in different circumstances and each type of care requires a slightly different approach. Some children may be dealing with abandonment issues or they may be having trouble at school or even gotten into some scrapes with the law. As each case is different, there are many different types of foster care to meet the needs of the child and their families, a one-fits-all approach isn’t practical with fostering and it is vital that the child receives the type of foster placement that meets their individual needs
Pride specialises in offering the following types of placements:
This type of fostering involves caring for children who need somewhere safe to stay immediately, usually for a few days. This can often happen at very short notice at all times of the day or night.
When a child needs an emergency foster placement, it is usually because of an unusual circumstance such as a bereavement, a parent being taken into police custody or in extreme cases, they may have been removed by social services for their own protection. Emergency foster placements can be needed at any time of the day or night and as such, an emergency placement provider must be prepared for this. Often the children who are taken into emergency foster placement may be traumatized, scared and confused. They have been removed from their homes and will need some extra patience and reassurance from their foster families, especially with younger children as it can be difficult for them to understand what is happening and why.
As the shortest type of foster care, emergency placements generally last up to a week and can be as short as a day.
Short term (temporary) placements
Short-term foster carers provide a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family, move into a longer-term fostering placement or an adoptive family is found.
Short-term fostering can last up to two years and is there to support children as they return to their families or as they move into a longer-term foster placement or even an adoption. This type of placement is offered to children of any age from teens to babies and is there to provide short-term stability before children move on to a more permanent placement with their family, foster family or adoptive parents. Most short-term foster parents also offer emergency placements.
Long term (permanent) placements
These placements are where adoption may not be an option, and the child or young person stays with a foster carer up to and sometimes into adult independence as a part of their family.
Longer term placements are a type of foster care which are generally expected to last longer than two years. These type of placements are used when it is not possible for the child to return home to their families. In some cases, the child will continue to have a relationship with their family members and in others, this may not be possible. Many long term foster placements last until the child reaches adulthood and the relationship with their foster family may last for the rest of their lives. There are also many cases where a longterm foster parent chooses to adopt their foster child.
Respite or support care placements
Respite placements are provided to give birth parents who are struggling to care for their children a break, or offer additional support if they do not have their own support network. Respite placements provide a welcome break for parents and carers who care for a child who has complex needs. Caring for a child who may be ill, physically or mentally impaired day in day out can have an impact on parents and carers’ health and wellbeing and so it is a very important thing that they get a break every now and then. Foster parents who specialize in respite care often have experience of dealing with children with complex needs often have regular support care.
Parent and Child fostering
Sometimes, new mothers may need a little bit of extra help and support while settling into their new role as a parent. This type of placement offers a place for a mum with a new baby to be supported by their foster parent who can help support and advise them on caring for themselves and their new baby. The aim of this type of placement is to insure that mum is able to cope once her and baby are ready to live on their own.
Unaccompanied child or young person
An unaccompanied child or young person isunder 18 and is separated from parents/familyand is usually applying for asylum in his/her ownright.These young people are from countries such
as Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Nigeria. Often theymay not speak English, can be frightenedandtherefore need stable and safe support.
There are many disabled and challengingchildren who require foster care. This can include children with physical disabilities, learning difficulties or sensory impairments.
Sibling placements are for brother and sisters who areall placed together into a foster carehousehold.Pride believes in keeping siblings together, unlessit is deemed inappropriate by the placing Authority.
When a young person reaches adulthood they are expected to live independently, sometimes the young adults need a little bit of extra support before they feel ready to live on their own. In these cases, a supported living placement can be offered. These placements mean that while the young person still has the support of a foster parent they are given more responsibility than in a standard foster placement. They gain experience in paying bills, shopping and running their own household. Having this kind of support in place means that once the young person feels ready to leave care completely they feel confident and able to manage on their own.
With the many types of placement offered we look for people with a wide range of skills, from dealing with babies and toddlers through to young adults and new parents. Each one of these groups has its own unique needs and along with that comes its own set of challenges but also its own reward. Helping to improve the lives of children who are dealing with unusual circumstances is invaluable and the care provided by foster families can help to shape the person that they become. Much more than just being able to offer a bed to sleep in and a hot meal, a foster family provides a home for a child. Maybe for a night or maybe forever.
Is fostering the same as adopting?
Although a long term foster child may remain with the family to adulthood or beyond, this is not quite the same as adoption. When a child, if adopted, the birth parents transfer all parental rights to the adoptive family permanently. This means that in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between a biological or adoptive child andthe adopted child is the sole legal responsibility of the adoptive family. With foster children, the parental responsibility is held with the local authority who then delegate the responsibility to the foster family.
You may feel that adoption is right for you and your foster child if they have been with you for a while or you may decide to stay with fostering, some children will want to be adopted by their new family while others prefer to remain a part of their biological family.
The many different types of foster care help to provide tailored solutions for each child’s individual needs. Although the type of foster placement can be categorized, the level and type of support and the exact terms of the placement will differ from child to child. This is something that will be discussed and agreed with you when meeting with the social worker. Having these plans in place mean that you can provide the very best fostering experience to each and every child that comes to stay with you.
Bridging placements are short term fostering placements for children or young people for whom the plan is to return home, or move into long term foster care or adoption. In such placements Pride foster carers work with children/young people and their families toward reunification, or to prepare children/young people for joining adoptive or long term/permanent fostering families or for moving to a semi-independent or an independent living arrangement.