Different ways to foster

There are different ways to provide foster care. Please read through the details below, so you can decide what is right for you and your family.

Think about what is the best type of fostering for you. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to do more than one kind of fostering.

Short Term  Long term  Support care  Family Link  Supported Lodgings


Short Term:

Short term foster carers provide a home for a few nights, weeks, months or even years for a child who has been removed from their birth family for their own safety and wellbeing.

This is frightening and overwhelming for any child or young person and you will be the focus of safety and care for that child, helping them to understand what has happened and preparing them for the next steps in their life.

If the child is in care with the intention of them being returned to their birth family when it is appropriate to do so, you will play a key role in keeping the relationship between the child and their family open, possibly accommodating contact and helping rebuild the family unit.

Some children will never return to the care of their birth families. They may well move onto a long-term foster home or a new adoptive family and will be looking to you for help preparing for that.

Long term:

Many children may not be able to return to their birth families and rely upon a long-term foster placement where they can experience being a valued family member and benefit from the advice, support and guidance they need.

You may help the child or young person to maintain long-term, positive relationships with their birth family, while also offering them a secure and nurturing environment where they can reach their potential.

Long term placements are usually for children aged seven and over who have not been adopted and, as a long-term carer, you will be committed to providing a home for the child until they can live independently.

Support care:

Support Care is a vital way to provide assistance to families that are finding it difficult to cope.

Short-term breaks, usually over one or two weekends a month for a period of up to six months, are arranged with the support carer to prevent family breakdowns that may require longer-term care for the child or young person.

As a support carer, the short-term breaks will be arranged in advance and will be with the same child.

Family Link:

This placement is the same as Support Care, but provides short breaks for children and young people up to the age of 18 who have a learning and/or physical disability.

Supported Lodgings:

Leaving care and setting up an independent life is a challenge for all young people.

Those aged 16 to 21 who are preparing to live independently after a life in care are usually already on good footing thanks to the stability provided by their foster parents.

But everyone needs a little support as they prepare to fly the nest.

By offering supported lodgings, you will provide safe, supported accommodation where care-leavers can use the facilities and develop skills such as cooking, housework and budgeting. They do this with the help of a landlord or landlady who provides emotional and practical support.