Types of Fostering
There are many different types of foster care. A child may need a foster home for a few days, before returning to their birth family or moving on elsewhere, while others may need a family to care for them for many years.
“Fostering has changed my life and it will change yours too.” Infinity Foster Carer
Short-term care is for children who may require a placement for a couple of weeks up to about six months. Children requiring short-term care are often able to be reunited with their parents or extended family by the end of the placement.
Long-term care is arranged when a child cannot return home for some time, or when that outcome is anticipated. Long-term foster care may cease when a permanent placement is arranged for the child, or when the child reaches adulthood and becomes independent.
Respite and/or Emergency Fostering
Respite care gives full-time foster carers, parents or guardians a regular break, often for one or two weekends a month, or a week during school holidays.
Emergency foster care is for children who require a placement immediately due to concerns for their safety. Due to the urgency of these placements there is usually very little notice and information before a child is placed with the foster carer.
Parent and Child Fostering
Parent and Child fostering is a specialist area within fostering that enables robust assessments to take place when babies and young children are at risk of being permanently removed from their parent’s care.
Parent and Child placements make it possible for the child to remain with their parent, whilst the assessment takes place, therefore the relationship with the parent is not disrupted.
A parent is supported by the foster carer to show their abilities and potential for learning in relation to the range of skills needed for ‘good enough’ care. Through their day-today involvement with the foster carer, parents are helped to appreciate for themselves their readiness, or otherwise, to be a full time parent.
Children with complex needs (learning or physical disabilities)
Children needing foster care include those with medical conditions or physical or learning disabilities, such as autism, hyperactivity, attention deficits, or reading difficulties.
Foster carers need have a particular interest in looking after children with disabilities and special needs because these children need a special love, be prepared to provide more care and attention, the ability to manage special medication or care routines, in some cases carers need to have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.
Why Children Come Into Care?
In most cases, the best place for children to grow up is within their own families. However, children cannot live with their families for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps their parents have died or abandoned their children or abused their children, or perhaps the parents are temporarily ill in hospital or simply not coping with raising their child.
Local authorities (with a court order) will make a decision to place the children in foster carer for a period of time until it is safe for the child to return home or they will find an alternative form of permanent arrangement for the child e.g. adoption.
Role of a Foster Carer
Foster carers are ordinary people doing an extraordinary task.
Warm, nurturing environment...
Foster carers provide a family environment to children who cannot live with their own families. The child or young person will come and live with the foster carer and become part of the family for a period of time.
Emotional and physical well-being...
Foster carers are expected to care for the child or young person and meet all their emotional, physical, health and social needs. Including everyday activities such as taking children to school, social activities, GP appointments, hospital visits etc.
All children have a need to belong and to feel part of a community, especially when they are from different ethnic backgrounds.
They need to feel positive about their culture and ethnic heritage.
Foster carers will be expected to respect the background of the child and promote their identity, religion and culture.
Understanding and patience...
In many cases they will probably be confused about their situation, they may swing from being angry with themselves, believing they are to blame, to being angry with their parents or even the foster carer.
Children develop ways to cope with life when presented with difficult situations such as family break-ups or if they’ve suffered some form of abuse. Sometimes they scream and yell, or run away, or hurt themselves or hurt other people.
As a foster carer, you can help to clarify the situation for a child and help them make sense of the turmoil they may be feeling. As a carer you need to be sensitive and non-judgemental in the approach you take.
Foster carers will manage the behaviour of the child in light of strategies provided by Infinity Foster Care.
Work as part of a team...
Foster carers will be expected to work as a member of a team of professionals to help understand, identify and meet the needs of each child or young person in their care.
This will include attending and contributing to meetings in a positive and professional manner.