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types of fostering

types of foster care

Foster children need a place to live, learn, love and laugh. They need a home.

There are a number of different kinds of fostering, but all provide these key values and enable a child to grow up in a safe and secure environment.

Fostering isn't only long-term. It can mean an overnight stay, a short break or a few months. It can also mean something longer and perhaps more permanent, if that's right for you and the child.

No child is the same and neither is the foster care they need. Each foster family is unique too, so that's why there isn't one typical foster family.

short-term foster care

Fostering family in garden

Short-term fostering can be just that - an hour, a day, a month or a year. This means the plans for a child’s future are still in motion. In the meantime, a secure home is just what they need.

When you become a short-term foster carer, you’ll work with us while we look to secure the next step – this could be a more ‘long-term’ foster home, a return to the child’s family or sometimes a move to an adoptive family. Short-term means that you will always be there to help and care for a child whenever they need you. Importantly, you will also be there to help them move on to that important next step, whatever it might be.

Family walking at Marine Lake Rhyl

Don't think that a short stay means a small impact. It can be the start of something wonderful. It can be the launchpad for a journey that is new for every child in our care and, of course, every foster carer too.

long-term foster care

Family drawing

If a child can’t live at home, long-term foster care can establish a new safe place. It represents a fresh start and stability. A place to belong.

Fostering family at home: Mum and Dad

Very careful and thoughtful matching goes into long-term foster care. It’s important the right foster child is brought together with the right foster carer for as long as is needed. This type of fostering is about providing not just a safe and secure environment, but permanence too. For a child, this means a stable foster family for life.

specialist kinds of foster care

Both short-term and long-term covers all kinds of fostering. These include some specialist types – some of which require a special type of approval. These include:

Family laughter

short breaks

Everyone needs the opportunity to breathe and take a step back sometimes. This is why short breaks are available.

Short breaks, also sometimes known as ‘support care’, can involve taking a child in overnight, for the day or over the weekend. These are sometimes planned in advance and can be frequent, or a one-off. Short breaks are all about offering new opportunities and experiences. It allows you to make a difference by coming together – you become an extension to the child’s family and form part of their life story.

Family enjoying ice cream

parent and child

Parent and child placements mean you can share your own skills and experience with someone who needs that support and guidance. It allows you to nurture the next generation so they can do the same in the future. These placements help parents build up personal skills that they need, as well as skills for their child, and are a valuable way to help young parents feel confident and capable.

Fostering family at home

therapeutic care

Different kinds of care are sometimes needed for children with more complex needs. Therapeutic care is in place to help such children. With this kind of care, your foster family is even more unique – and the rewards can be even greater. To help make sure you are supported, therapeutic carers and their children always have an extra level of guidance and training available to help them.