Understanding the different types of foster care
Just one twentieth of children in care in the UK are adopted, while three quarters are placed in foster homes. When it comes to fostering, it is important to understand the differences between the types of foster care available.
When you look at those statistics, it is understandable why there is a national debate taking place about how to achieve greater permanence through fostering.
This is requiring fostering services to identify more people prepared to offer long term’ fostering. But what does ‘long term’ foster care mean?
And how does long term fostering differ from the other types of foster care, such as respite and emergency foster care?
With so many terms banded around, it can be difficult for someone entering the profession to understand what each different type of foster care involves.
Well, here’s a brief description of those three different types of foster care:
Respite foster care
Respite foster care is short term supportive fostering which usually takes place at weekends or school holidays to support a child currently placed with another foster carer or their birth parents.
It can allow children to develop relationships with another family outside of their home, and gives parents or carers a chance to recharge their batteries.
Emergency foster care
Prompted by unforeseen circumstances, emergency fostering provides temporary care at short notice. This is sometimes needed to provide a haven for children requiring a home after an unexpected event has occurred in their life.
Long term foster care
When a child’s situation is unlikely to change, they may be ready to settle in with a foster carer for months or even years – often until they are at the point when they are ready to live independently.
As it currently stands, more than one in ten children in care will move between three or more foster placements in a year. This is why the government is looking to long term foster care as a way to provide children with stability as early as possible.
Whether for the short term or long term, all fostering is vitally important.
As Edward Timpson, Secretary of State for Children & Families pointed out in an interview with the Guardian earlier this year, just a month in a child’s life is 0.5% of their childhood that they’ll never be able to get back.
Coming from a fostering family himself, he said: “I think back to some of the experiences we had as a foster family – they make you laugh, they make you cry,” he said. “They enriched our family. It made it greater than the sum of its parts.”
If you are willing to offer short term or long term fostering care, Perpetual Fostering will provide you with access with comprehensive support network available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with our team online or call us on 0845 0740076.