Types of fostering

Short term

From an overnight stay, to a period of several months or years. Short-term foster carers look after children until they can return home to their own family, or a longer-term plan can be made.

Long term

Children may not be able to go back to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. These foster carers support and care for children on a long-term basis until they become adults.

Asylum-seeking children

These children, who have travelled to the UK alone, often come fleeing war and persecution. They need support to adjust to life in the UK. Foster carers will receive extra training and support to meet the needs of these children.

Parent and child

Sometimes we have to assess a parent's ability to look after their baby or young child. During this time the parent and child will live with you. Parent and child foster carers offer support and advice to help the parent(s) care for their child(ren) whilst a parenting assessment is completed. The foster carer's comments and records will help professionals to reach a decision on the parent's ability.

Supported lodgings

Our Supported Lodgings scheme provides young people who are aged 16 to 25 and in care or who have recently left care with a place to live. You can work full-time as long as you still have time to support the young person to gain skills for independent living.

Short breaks - weekend care for disabled children

This offers disabled children different experiences while still living with their family. A child might stay with a Short Breaks carer for one or two nights a month. The child being cared for under the Short Breaks scheme may have a physical or learning disability, and will be carefully matched to the Short Breaks carer.

Supporting other foster carers via the Mockingbird Programme

Mockingbird hub home foster carers offer planned and emergency sleepovers and short breaks for other foster families. They also give advice, training, and support to other fostering households.

The Mockingbird programme aims to increase the strength of fostering households and improves the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.

Find out more about becoming a Mockingbird hub home carer.

Emergency foster carers

Emergency foster carers need to be available outside of usual working hours to provide a home for a child on a temporary basis. This is usually for up to 10 days.

Other types of fostering

Foster to adopt

Foster to adopt aims to reduce the number of moves a child might have before they are legally adopted. The child or children are placed with carers who have been approved as both foster carers and adoptive parents. The child is initially cared for under fostering regulations. When the child is ready to be adopted, they will remain with the same family and the status will change from foster carers to adoptive parents.

If you are interested in foster to adopt, please contact the adoption team as you will need to be assessed and approved as an adopter.

Kinship Carers/ Connected persons / Family and friends fostering

'Connected persons' or family and friends' carers, also known as kinship carers, look after a child who is related to them or with whom they have a close relationship. We will always try to support a child or young person in care to live with a family member or friend wherever this is possible. They will need to be approved as a foster carer.

Special Guardianship

Special guardianship is a court order that gives you parental responsibility for a child or young person and allows them to live with you permanently.

The child can still have a relationship with their parents, where possible.

Being a special guardian means that you will have parental responsibility for the child, giving you the right to make decisions about the child's care and upbringing.

Special Guardians in Surrey can have free support and training through Kinship Charity. Please contact the fostering team for more details.

If you live in Surrey and are a special guardian who needs support, please email sgo.postordersupport@surreycc.gov.uk

Private fostering

If you are providing care for a child aged 16 or under, to whom you are not closely related, for more than 28 days, you need to notify the Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPA)

Find out more about what to do if you are caring for somebody else's child through a private arrangement.

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