Every foster placement is different, but there are a few types of fostering that have special requirements.
Specialist fostering involves caring for children with unique needs. We'll give you special training and support when you take on this type of fostering. There are two types of specialist fostering.
With therapeutic fostering, you’ll be part of a team around a child who is having therapy to overcome significant trauma or neglect. You’ll give them safety, boundaries and consistent care.
Short breaks for children with disabilities
Short breaks give children with disabilities ages 0 to 18 years the chance to try new things, meet new people, learn skills and become more independent.
While their child is taking a short break, families can also take a break from the demands and routines of daily life, and spend time with their other children.
There are two ways to provide short breaks:
- Providing short breaks part time - days, weekends or overnight stays for children with moderate needs
- Providing short breaks full time - three- or five-day stays for children with challenging behaviour or complex medical needs
"My role not only provides support and care to the child, but also to parents and siblings. From my point of view I truly love my job and the support is great! It is without doubt the best job I have ever had!” Sally, carer."
These specialist fostering roles include support groups facilitated by our clinical psychologist and all have support from a dedicated social worker.
Most children come into care short-term - up to 1 year - while social workers make assessments to work out who can care permanently for the child.
Most foster children return to their families, but a small number need fostering until they grow up.
We have many children age 8 and older, and in sibling groups, looking for permanent foster placements.
As a permanent foster carer, you take on a special role, giving the children a sense of safety, security and stability.
Making a permanent commitment to a child needs careful consideration. You would need to think about what support and training you might need and whether you can support the child to maintain contact with their birth family.
When a child needs a permanent placement, carers are given basic information about the child's personality, education, behaviour, emotional and physical health, and the type of family they need.
Parent and child fostering
This means having a young parent and their child living in your home, showing them how to best care for their child.
Social workers may be unsure if these young parents can care for their baby or young child. They can better assess the young parent's abilities when they are living with a foster family.
To take on parent and child fostering, you'll need more skills and training. You'll need skills looking after babies, and working and communicating with young people.
Fostering children seeking asylum
We need foster carers for children who have come alone from overseas to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. These children and young people are often traumatised and need time and patience.
They may have limited English, so you'll also need to be their voice in every aspect of their lives. They'll need support, for example, registering with a GP, going to the dentist and finding a school.
Other types of fostering
Private fostering is when a child under 16 (18 if disabled) lives with someone who is not a relative for more than 28 days. A private foster carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child or someone unknown to the child’s family who is willing to foster them privately.
It is a legal requirement to notify your local authority if you are privately fostering.