Types of foster care
A child might not be able to live with their family but they can still stay in the community, go to the same school, be close to their friends and have contact with their family.
Keeping everything else in balance when the family unit has broken down is a skill and takes a special kind of person. Someone who can provide all the right support in all the right places at all the right times.
Short term (known as 'task centred') fostering is caring for children for a short focused period. This might be for a few nights in an emergency or for a longer time until there is a plan for them to return home or a permanent plan. Carers who provide short term foster care enjoy caring for a variety of children over their fostering careers.
Children in short term foster care can be aged between 0 to 18 years old.
You can give a child the chance of a better future. Some children can't go home, but for them adoption isn't possible.
Permanent foster caring gives children love, stability and support from childhood to adolescence and beyond.
With the right kind of care these children can go from strength to strength, gaining confidence and independence and while 'long term' is a broad term, this relationship often lasts for many years.
Parent and child foster care involves placing a parent, who is experiencing difficulties, and their baby or young child in a foster home.
The foster carer helps and encourages the parent to develop their skills and occasionally provides parental care.
As a foster carer you would observe how the parent looks after the child and need to keep good records.
This can be a very complex and challenging type of care and requires a number of skills and qualities including:
- 24-hour commitment.
This placement is often an alternative to a mother/father baby unit. It usually results from a court referral. A baby's social worker may decide on this placement if the parent is not coping well and needs extra help but doesn't have an extended family. The parent might not necessarily be a young person.
Foster care for young babies and under 2 year olds is often to prepare them to be moved on to be adopted or return to their family home.
At the moment, we have very few babies and under 2 year olds in need of fostering, unless they are part of a sibling group which includes older children.
Fostering a very young child is rewarding as you can visibly see the child thrive and develop in their care.
You will work closely with the birth parents, using your personal skills to provide regular contact arrangements (often in your own home or if supervised, transport the child to and from sessions at a family centre).
You would also host introduction meetings between the child and the prospective adoptive parents..
We need foster carers who are sensitive and caring to ensure that these are positive experiences for the young child and for the parents.
Foster carers are responsible for taking the child to and from contact arrangements. meetings and medical visits - so transport is also a consideration and you need to be available and flexible to meet these needs.
They may have medical needs that require support, during day and night. You need to have both the physical and emotional capacity to manage this type of 24 hour 1-to-1 care.
We provide support for you and your family when the time comes for the child to move on. As a carer, you will need a professional approach and a sensitive manner. This will improve the lives of all those involved with moving a child on to the next phase of their life.
The Disabled Children's Fostering Service recruits, trains and supports foster carers to meet the needs of disabled children. This can include autism, physical and learning difficulties and complex health needs.
If you have a spare room and you can offer a loving home for a disabled child to stay, our fostering team will offer you the training and support you need so that you can meet the needs of a child with confidence.
You will receive an enhanced financial package and you do not need previous experience, as long as you are willing to learn and participate in training.
We match children needing foster care to the skills and experience of the carer as well as train and develop carers' skills to extend the range of disabilities they can cater for. Some of our foster carers specialise in a particular type of disability while others have, over time, gained skills across a range of disabilities.
We need Foster Carers who can care for children either full time or for short breaks.
You can choose to look after a number of children as a full-time foster carer, when a child is with you either for a few days in a family emergency, through to permanent care when a child grows up in and part of your family.
Parents of children with a disability often provide intensive care. This means they need regular care breaks to do even the simplest household chores, spend time with other family members, or just have a break themselves.
Some of our foster carers provide short break care for disabled children to help families take a much needed break from their daily routine, or if they need to take personal time or medical care.
It's also a good opportunity for disabled children to gain independence and enjoy new experiences away from their home environment.
Short break care can be anything from occasional days/evenings, a weekend a month or during the school holidays. For example, someone who works in a school may be happy to help out during school holidays.
If you can offer short break care, please get in touch to discuss the requirements.
What are the benefits for the child?
- The child can meet new people and experience different activities
- The child is encouraged to develop independence from their parents
- There is more opportunity long term for the child to stay with their family.
- It's not essential that your home is wheelchair accessible but we can, with your agreement, consider home adaptations.
- It's helpful if you have a ground floor bedroom and bathroom facilities but we also need foster homes with conventional upstairs bedroom arrangements.
Support and training
- We make sure you are trained in specific care tasks in relation to medication, mealtimes and personal care.
- You can continue to work on a full or part-time basis or you can, if appropriate, care for a number of children as a full-time role.
- You will receive a financial package
- You don't need previous experience as long as you are willing to learn and participate in training.
We need people who have experience and enjoy caring for a disabled child or young person. People from all walks of life who have energy, patience and common sense, who value diversity, and have a willingness to learn.
- full time placements from £316.93 to £512.81 per week plus Disability Living Allowance
- short break placements from £59.23 to £73.26 per night
We want to recruit foster carers who can offer young people who are aged 16+, a loving home as well as emotional and practical support to teens as they move towards becoming young adults.
Foster carers who care for 16+ young people can continue to work, as long as they have flexibility to attend training courses and meetings.
Applicants would need to have a spare bedroom, be highly motivated and enjoy the challenges and rewards of working with young people. In particular, we would be interested to hear from youth workers and teachers that have experience of working with teenagers.