Types of fostering

There are seven types of fostering schemes.

Short term foster care

This is when carers look after children temporarily, while plans are made for the child's future. It can involve looking after children overnight, or longer term for up to two years. 

Respite care

Children who need one-off or regular time away from their foster carers (or sometimes their birth family) stay with respite carers for short periods such as a weekend.

Short breaks for disabled children

Children with disabilities or complex health needs may stay with a family overnight or for a short time, to give their parents or usual foster carers a break.

Permanent foster care  

Not all children who need to permanently live away from their birth family will be adopted, so instead they may be cared for by a foster carer on a permanent basis, until they are adults. To help children feel stable and settled, we encourage permanent carers to think about legal orders to claim the child as part of their family.

Specialist fostering

Young people who have experienced considerable trauma often require skilled carers who can provide therapeutic care and respond to their more complex needs and behaviours.

Parent-child fostering

Young parents and their babies are often placed with experienced foster carers who are able to support them develop their parenting skills, bond with their baby and safely look after their baby independently.

Connected persons or family and friends care

This is an arrangement where a child lives with somebody they already know or who is ‘connected’ to their family network, usually an extended family member such as grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister or family friend.