Different types of fostering

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Short term fostering

Short term fostering is also known as 'task centred fostering'. A child could be placed in a foster home for a period which lasts from one night to several months, depending on the circumstances and the legal situation.

Short term fostering happens if a child needs to leave their home, for various reasons, but when the intention is for them to return home once any difficulties have been sorted out.

Short term fostering can last for more than a year while we find a new permanent home, either by longer term fostering or adoption. In these circumstances the foster carer helps to prepare the child to move to a new family. Carers are also closely involved in helping the new family understand the needs of the child and prepare for their arrival.

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Longer term fostering

Sometimes children are unable to return to live with their parents. Longer term fostering allows them to remain in contact with their family, whilst growing up in a safe and caring environment.

Children who are fostered long term live with the foster family and will continue to be visited by a social worker.

Regular meetings will take place every six months to make sure that they are settled. Foster carers are supported by the child's social worker and a family placement worker during the placement.

Longer term fostering is different from adoption. Some children don't want to be adopted but need to be in a safe and caring environment as they grow up. Long term fostering provides that security and helps those young people achieve their potential.

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Mother and baby placements

We sometimes need foster carers who can support young mothers and help them care for their babies. Some carers have developed skills in this area of work. They take part in assessments and encourage young mothers without taking over their parental responsibilities.

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Specialist fostering

Our specialist scheme provides foster placements for children aged eleven and over who have particular needs, behavioural difficulties, or children with severe disabilities.

Foster carers need to make a commitment to see these children through times of difficulty, and to be available at any time they need support. For example, if excluded from school, or if they need to appear in court. Specialist foster carers need to have great flexibility in their part-time working arrangements, or need to be at home full time.

Specialist fostering placements may be short or long term, depending on the child's needs. Because of the level of skill and time involved, specialist fostering is a full time commitment and carers are paid a retainer and a weekly fee, on top of the normal weekly fostering allowance.

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Support or respite fostering

This is part-time foster care for children. Part-time care may be needed to help families in difficulty, providing a break for parents and children. These breaks are often over weekends or holidays.

Part-time foster care is also used to offer a break to full time foster carers, often over weekends or holidays or to provide cover if foster carers are unwell or face family difficulties.

Children in residential schools sometimes need care with a foster family at weekends and school holidays.

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