If you’re hoping to foster a child but don’t know where to start, looking at the different types of fostering is the best place to start.
Fostering a child is one of the most incredible and rewarding things that you could ever do. However, there are tens of thousands of children who are fostered in the UK and a network of over 75,000 foster careers. Therefore, you must find the right type of arrangement for the child’s individual needs – as well as your own.
Here are the types of fostering that you should be aware of before making an application in the UK.
Short-term fostering is the most common type of fostering in the UK. It is commonly defined as any fostering arrangement that lasts for no longer than two years, although foster parents may only provide care for a few nights or weeks.
This type of fostering can be suitable in a range of circumstances, including but not limited to;
- A child is awaiting permanent adoption.
- Parents or guardians are unwell and temporarily incapable of caring for the child.
- The family is undergoing care proceedings to establish long-term protocols.
- As a form of extended respite care when a child has additional needs.
Short-term fostering often allows foster parents to have contact with the birth parents. While the arrangement is temporary, this type of fostering is very rewarding and allows foster carers to make a huge difference in the child’s life.
Long-term fostering is an arrangement where the child will stay with you until they reach adulthood. This is usually because they cannot return to their birth family due to death, incapacity, or legal restrictions. In most cases, long-term fostering lasts for several years.
While long-term fostering is similar to adoption in several ways, there are also several differences, such as;
- Foster children remain the legal responsibility of the local authority.
- Adoption isn’t always legally possible, which makes long-term fostering a great alternative.
- Long-term fostering enables you to maintain your fostering allowance.
Long-term fostering allows foster parents to form a close one-to-one bond with the foster child. Ultimately, it creates a stable environment for the foster child to live in.
Respite fostering is a type of temporary fostering, which is offered to help birth parents who need a break. Arrangements often last for anywhere between a weekend and a fortnight. They often occur during the school holidays to cause minimal disruption to the child.
This type of fostering can extend to support primary foster families as well as birth families. It could be used when;
- Birth parents or primary foster carers need a break when caring for a child with extra needs.
- Families need some time to recharge, perhaps when juggling parenthood with looking after a sick parent.
- You, as a foster parent, cannot offer full-time care but would like to help families where you can.
Respite care can be arranged as a one-off situation or a recurring agreement where you take care of the child for a few nights at several stages throughout the year.
Additional Types of Fostering
In addition to the three main types of fostering mentioned above, it may also be worth researching;
- Sibling fostering,
- Parent and child fostering,
- Emergency fostering,
- Fostering asylum-seeking children.
To find out more about the types of fostering or take the next steps to become a foster parent, contact Match Foster Care today.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.