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Types Of Fostering

We believe fostering can change lives, whether a child is with you on a short-term or long-term basis. There are many types of fostering options and requirements to suit your personal circumstances as well as the needs of the child in care.


The different types of fostering options:

Full-Time Fostering Options

There are two types of full time fostering options, long-term and short-term.

Many carers offer a mix of short-term and long-term care placements, depending on the needs of the child in care.

Full Time Fostering

Long-Term Fostering

Long-term foster carers provide a permanent home for a child who is unable to live with their birth family. This can be for a whole variety of reasons.


Sometimes they may have experienced abuse, neglect or a parent may become ill and unable to care for their child.


A long-term foster carer will often look after the child or young person until adulthood. They become part of the family and do everything with the foster family as their own child would.

Foster carers look after other people’s children and young people in need, caring for them on a daily basis. This includes closely working with social workers and parents and other professionals who are involved in the children’s lives.

Short-Term Fostering

A short-term foster carer will look after children for a few weeks or months while plans are made for their future.

Children are usually placed into short-term foster care for a variety of reasons, such as emergency placements. Short-term carers may not have a significant amount of time to prepare for the child’s arrival and therefore requires a degree of flexibility.

Short-term placements can last from a couple of nights to multiple years, as they are dependent on a long-term plan being agreed by the Courts.

Once a plan has been decided, a short-term foster carer will then prepare the child for their future home, which may be with their birth parents, family and friends, or a long-term foster carer.

Part-Time Fostering Options

There are several part-time fostering options, all of which help to support children and their caregivers. Part-time foster carers look after and support children living full-time at home with their families (or other foster carers), providing planned after school, overnight and weekend stays and during school holidays.

Part-time foster carers will commit to a minimum of 8 sessions each month, which will include evening, overnight and at least 1 weekend a month.

Though part-time foster carers will not be looking after a child full-time, they still need to meet all fostering requirements, including having a spare bedroom to be able to offer overnight care to a child or young person.

Part-time foster carers can offer a range of part-time care according to their own availability and choice.

Part Time Fostering
Part-time fostering options

Support Care

Support carers offer short breaks to children who are still living with their birth parents. Support carers spend time with young people while supportive work is taking place with their birth parents and family. This helps children to continue to live at home and prevent family breakdown. This can help prevent children coming into foster care full time.

Support carers have children come over after school for tea and sleepovers, take the children out for trips and generally give them a safe space to relax while supportive work is being undertaken with their family. Support carers provide a minimum of 8 sessions a month.

Shared Care

Shared carers are matched with several children with disabilities, complex health needs and/or learning disabilities and offer planned short breaks around the carers availability and skills.

Shared carers offer the children and their families regular planned breaks (including some overnight and weekend breaks). This supports the children to have new experiences outside their family home, helps them develop independence and gives their family a chance to recharge their batteries and spend time with any other children.

Shared carers provide a minimum of 8 sessions a month, including at least 1 weekend. 

There are some children who have complex health needs or disabilities who require specialist care. Specialist foster carers receive specific and full training and support and we are always looking for foster families who can provide specialist care either full-time or part-time. 

Respite/Holiday Care

Holiday carers (also known as respite carers) look after foster children for short periods of up to 2 weeks to provide respite to the main carer.

Children usually stay with holiday carers because their main foster carer is taking annual leave; or a child cannot be taken on holiday due to their legal status; or the main carer is experiencing a family emergency.

Demand is highest for respite during the school holidays so would particularly suit people who work in a school or college. 

If a foster child has complex health needs or a disability, shared care would be arranged to give the foster carer time to spend with their own family.

Specialist Foster Care

There are some children who have complex health needs or disabilities who require specialist care. Specialist foster carers receive specific training and support and we are always looking for foster families who can provide specialist care either full-time or part-time. 

specialist foster care

Young Parent & Child Care

Parent and child fostering is a specialist type of fostering. A young parent and their child will stay with you at a time when they need extra support.


This type of fostering helps the parent learn about parenthood with additional support in a secure and safe environment.  


The parent and child will live with you for up to 12 weeks (sometimes longer) and during this time, you will offer mentoring, practical and emotional support and advice to help them prepare for independence. You’ll also be expected to contribute to the assessment of the parent and their ability to care for their child.


You will need experience or knowledge of good parenting to nurture young parents with the skills, support and confidence they need to help them continue to care for their babies or small children.

Emergency Care

If we need to place a child in emergency foster care outside traditional office hours, emergency carers are available to support young people until we can fully assess their situation and plan for the future.


Emergency foster carers work on a rota and cover at least one weekend a month.

Emergency carers play an important part in making children feel safe and secure at what is likely to be a very stressful and difficult time for them. All placements are risk-assessed before placement.


PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) carers are the difference between a child spending the night in a prison cell or in a caring, comfortable home. 


PACE carers work on a rota and provide emergency out-of-office-hours / overnight care to a young person aged between 10 and 17, who has been arrested, before they attend court the following day. All placements are risk-assessed by the Police and by Children’s Social Care before the young person is brought to your home.


You will need to have personal or professional experience of working with young people who have presented challenging behaviour.

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