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 arrangement can be made.
Sometimes children won't 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.
Unaccompanied 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 additional training and support to meet the needs of these children.
Parent and child
Sometimes we have to assess a parent's capacity 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 observations and good record-keeping will help professionals to reach a decision on the parent's capability.
Our Supported Lodgings scheme provides accommodation to young people who are aged 16 to 25 and in care or who have recently left care. You can work full-time as long as you still have time available to support the young person to gain skills for independent living.
Short Breaks for children with disabilities
This offers children with disabilities an opportunity to share 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.
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, usually for a period no longer than 5 days.
Other types of fostering
Foster to adopt
Foster to adopt was introduced to minimise the number of moves a child might have before they are legally adopted. In this situation the child or children would be 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.
Connected persons / Family and friends fostering
'Connected persons' or family and friends carers look after a child who is related to them or with whom they have a close relationship. When a child or young person needs to be fostered, we have a responsibility to make arrangements wherever possible for a child in care to live with a member of the family or a friend and they will need to be approved as a foster carer.
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 us. For more information, see our Private fostering leaflet.
Files available to download
- Private fostering leaflet (986.6 KB)
Find out more about Private fostering