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Types of foster care

There are many different types of foster care, these include:

  • short-term foster carers: they look after children for a few weeks or months while more permanent arrangements are made for them, or they return home

  • long-term foster carers: not all children return home and some older children need a permanent home where foster care is the best option

  • specialist fostering: this is for older children and teenagers who are struggling with the changes and pressures of adolescence

  • parent and child foster carers: they support and advise the parent (mother or father) of a baby or young child who is having difficulties; the parent and their child are temporarily placed together in foster care with the aim of returning to their own home with support when they're ready

  • short breaks: part-time care provides regular short breaks for children who are disabled; for example, this could be an evening a week or a weekend a month

  • full time placements for children who are disabled and need to be looked after by foster carers

  • the Supported Lodgings scheme, as an alternative to fostering, provides homes for vulnerable 16 to 25-year-olds; you rent out your spare bedroom and shared facilities in your home to support the young person to learn to live independently

  • shared care or respite is caring for a child for part of the week until they can return home, or while another carer is on holiday

  • refugee and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, usually teenagers who are separated from their families and need safe homes

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