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.