What types of foster care are there?

Foster care simply means you’ll be caring for children and young people when they are not able to live with their own families.

Foster parents differ from adoptive parents because they do not take parental responsibility for the children in their care.

However, there are different types of foster care, which we have set out below.

Long term foster care

Long term foster care means you look after children who cannot return to their birth family but are not going to be adopted. A long-term foster parent would usually care for the child until they reach adulthood.

Short term foster care

Short-term foster carers look after children for weeks or months while decisions are made about their care, for example, whether they will return to their parents, move to long term foster care or go for adoption.

Family and friends/kinship foster care

Family and Friends or Kinship foster care is where a child who cannot live in their family home is placed with other family members or friends.  


An emergency foster carer provides a child with a safe place to stay at very short notice, unusually for a few nights.

Respite and short breaks

Respite foster carers accommodate and care for children while their parents or other carers take a break. These will often be children with special educational needs, behavioural issues or long-term medical conditions.


Remand fostering involves caring for young people involved in criminal trials, who have been remanded into foster care by a court. This type of fostering has its own challenges. You will need specialist training.

Fostering for adoption

Fostering for adoption means that you care for babies or young children who you may eventually adopt.

To do fostering for adoption, you must be assessed and approved as an adoptive parent by a local authority.

Specialist therapeutic foster care

This type of foster care involves providing specialist therapeutic care to children and young people with health conditions, special educational needs or behavioural challenges. You may need specialist training for this type of foster care unless you are already experienced in caring for people with these needs.

If you have queries about types of foster care, contact Diagrama Fostering today to discover more about how you could become a foster carer.

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Book a call with a member of our team

We're ready to help you begin your fostering journey. Book an informal intro call with one of our social workers today. We'll tell you more about Diagrama, help you understand if fostering is right for you and answer any questions you may have about the process.

On this informal and confidential introductory call with our social workers you will get to:

  • Discuss your current circumstances to find out if fostering is right for you.
  • Learn about how Diagrama support foster carers with a generous benefits and support package.
  • Ask us any questions you have about fostering.