Support . Care . Nurture
Types of Fostering
There are many different types of fostering depending on the needs of the child. In fostering, there is no “one size fits all” placement, therefore we offer placements and support which are tailored to the individual needs of the child(ren) we are caring for. We offer long-term and short-term placements, respite placements, emergency placements and sibling placements (to name a few).
Long Term/ Short Term Placements
Long Term placements are offered to children who are expected to remain in care until they reach adulthood. Long term placements offer children a permanent home. It is usually agreed within a child’s care plan that it is intended that the child will remain in foster care until they turn 18 years of age.
Short Term placements are for children where they are not expected to remain in their placement on a long-term basis. It may be that there is a plan for them to be rehabilitated home, or for a family member to be assessed to care for them. Short term placements could be anywhere from a few days up to 2 years.
Sibling placements are when we have foster families who have the space and ability to care for more than one child therefore giving us the chance to offer a home whereby siblings can live together. It is vitally important for siblings to remain together wherever this is deemed in the best interests of the children. Sadly, there are not enough homes with the space and ability to care for siblings which means siblings are often separated into different foster homes.
There are times when it is appropriate for siblings to share a bedroom, which can make finding a placement to keep them together easier. It is useful to consider whether your fostering bedroom could accommodate more than one child in case this were ever to be an opportunity presented to you.
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking children (UASC placements)
These are placements which are offered to children who have fled their home countries to seek safety in the UK. UAS children have often experienced or witnessed significant violence and may have lost close family members. They may have also experienced a traumatic journey to the UK. Their trauma is often compounded by finding themselves alone without family in a country where they may not speak the language. UASC placements offer safety and stability to children who have often suffered terrible loss, as well as consistent access to food, water, heat and education, all of which may have become sparse in their home countries.
Many placements happen under emergency circumstances where children need to be placed immediately. Emergency placements are not planned and often happen quickly. It may not be possible to gather as much information about the child as would be possible in a planned placement. Sometimes, children who are placed under emergency circumstances may have little/no belongings with them so it may be necessary to dash to the supermarket to buy some essentials on the first night. It is important that foster parents remain calm, welcoming and nurturing when welcoming any child into their home, however in an emergency situation there may be an even greater need for the foster parent to assign time and understanding to the child who is likely to be scared, upset and confused.
Respite placements are temporary placements where children stay for a “break” or “holiday” from their main placement. They return to their main placement at the end of their respite stay. Respite plays an important role in fostering as it allows foster parents time to take a break from time to time. This can be necessary for many reasons, such as feeling emotionally exhausted, needing time for some self-care or needing to attend an event. Whatever the reason is, the most important thing is that respite is planned in a way that has the best interests of the child in mind at all times. This means offering the child the chance to meet their respite carers before their stay, and ensuring the child feels wanted and not rejected in any way.
Solo placements are for children who cannot be placed alongside other children. This could be because the child presents a risk to other children, or other children present a risk to the child, or the child has asked not to be placed with other children. Some homes will only have the space for 1 child, however in some cases families have the ability to care for more than one child and therefore could care for children from different families simultaneously. For many children, this works well, however there are some children for whom this is not an option. Where it is absolutely clear that a child needs to be placed alone, the Local Authority will request a Solo placement.