Because each child and young person is unique and their needs and circumstances are different, there is a range of fostering options available. Foster carers can choose a particular type of fostering which best suits their interests, skills, and circumstances:
Emergency foster placements are where a child/young person has been removed from their family unexpectedly due to a crisis which may include safeguarding concerns. The child/young person needs to be taken to a safe environment in an emergency. longer term plan can be agreed which could include returning home to the care of the family or remaining in fostering and moving to a Short-Term Placement.
Short Term fostering is when children and young people live with foster carers until a decision is made for them to either return to their family or remain in foster care. There is an exact time limit on Short Term, and it could be anything from a couple of week and months or two years. A placement will be referred to as Short Term until a longer-term plan has been agreed.
Long term fostering is where there is an agreed care plan for a child/young person to remain in foster carer until they reach 18. When a Long-Term fostering has been agreed it is usually with the foster carer that has been looking after the child/young person on a Short-Term basis. Long Term fostering is also referred as Permanent Fostering.
Respite fostering is when a child/young person is placed with a foster carer for an agreed brief period ranging from a weekend to a fortnight. Respite placements with foster carers are usually arranged to give the child/young person’s permanent foster carers a rest specially if the child/young person has complex needs or challenging behaviours. Not only can Respite fostering provide a much-needed service to other foster carers it can also be a fun and exciting time for the children and young people and be like a mini holiday.
Parent and Child
Parent and Child placement is sometimes referred to as Mother and baby placement. These are very specialist placements where a mother and baby live with specially trained foster carers to receive specialist guidance and support in relation to parenting skills and where safeguarding risks have been identified.
Step Down placements are when a child or young person moves from residential children’s home to a foster placement. Some children who come into care are placed in a residential home because at the time it was considered that they needed to be in a safe environment it was decided that a children’s home was the most suitable option, or a suitable foster placement was unfortunately not available at the time. In other cases, a child or young person may have been placed with foster carers but because of their specific challenges with behaviour it was assessed that a residential children’s home would be the most suitable environment for a brief period of time. Although a children’s home can keep a child safe and provide a safe and caring environment, we believe that wherever possible all children should have the opportunity to be part of a family and for this reason, we work closely with the local authority to support plans to move children out of residential homes and into one of our foster homes with our specially trained foster carers. When this happens, it is known as Step Down because we are stepping down the level of care the child/young person needs and supporting the fostering plan.