There are many different types of fostering that can have a great impact on the lives of children. We require a range of foster carers able to offer differing types of placements. Our agency receives referrals for children from birth to 18 years of age, from a range of different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Children who need a foster placement sometimes need to be placed together with their siblings, or have additional needs which mean they need to be placed separately. There are also children who have specific health or learning disabilities.
There are many types of foster care and during the assessment process we will discuss with you the fostering which best suits you and your family.
Long- term fostering provides a child with a stable environment for them to live, learn and grow, usually until they reach 18 or to independence. With long term fostering, often a Care Order (Section 31) has been granted by the court which means the child’s local authority share ‘parental responsibility’ with the child’s parents. Some children entering a long term foster care placement may have had many placement moves and therefore require a stable, loving home environment where they can feel safe, settled and an integral part of a family.
Therefore, a crucial part of long term fostering is the matching process. Our Placement Officers will gather as much information about the child, and will work together with you and your supervising social workers to ensure that the best match is found for the child.
Short term fostering provides care for a child until a permanent plan has been arranged for the child. Short term foster placement can be as little as a couple of weeks up to two years whilst the local authority makes permanent plans for the child. Some of these permanent plans may include a child returning to live with their birth family, long-term fostering or adoption. It is important that foster carers are able to work to the plans made for the child and this can include assisting with contact arrangements.
Emergency foster care
Emergency foster care means that foster carers have to be flexible and adaptable to the immediate requirement of placement. Emergency placements can be requested at any time during a 24 hour period and are frequently made out of office hours and on weekends. Emergency placements usually occur where children or young people are at risk of immediate harm and therefore, need to be moved to a foster placement. The length of time you are fostering a child can be from a few hours to a few weeks or even months.
Short break / Respite fostering
Short break/Respite fostering allows existing family members or existing foster carers to have a short break from the day to day responsibilities of caring for children. This type of care can allow family members or foster carers to maintain stability in the longer term placement. It can also allow the family or foster carer to have time to spend with other members of their family. Short break/respite fostering mostly occurs at weekend or during school holidays for a longer period of perhaps a couple of weeks.
Parent and child fostering
Parent and Child Fostering involves a foster carer providing a placement to both the child and their parent. The parent may be a mother or father (of any age) and usual is offered where the parent is experiencing difficulties parenting their child. Usually parent and child placements involve the foster carer closely monitoring and observing the care provided by the parent and assessing their ability to meet the child’s ongoing needs if they were to have sole care of the child in the future. We provide a range of specialist training and support to foster carers who provide these placements and often carers will have already had experience of parenting their own child. Foster carers will also have to be prepared to attend court and maintain accurate written records.
When I am Ready Scheme
When I am Ready is a new initiative for young people to remain in the care of their foster carer post 18. Fostering usually continues until the young person is 18 years old, as of April 2016 young people in Wales will have the option to stay with their existing foster carer. This will be discussed as part of the planning for independence and only where foster carers are also in agreement. Young people will also be able to request a When I am Ready placement if they are in residential care, the local authority will be responsible for identifying a suitable carer before the young person reaches their 18th birthday.
For further information about When I am Ready placements please see the link below: