Types of foster care

All children are different and each child will have a unique circumstance and a unique set of needs.  To reflect this there are many different types of foster care.  Your social worker will work with you to help you choose which type of foster care would be most suitable for you and your family.

Task-centred fostering

This usually involves the child or young person staying with you for a shorter period of time (weeks or months although this is not guaranteed and could extend up to years).  You would care for a child or children for varying periods of time while social workers make safe and permanent plans for them.  Children will need nurturing care and help to understand their experiences and the uncertainty of their future.  You would help children to move on to more permanent families or back home to their birth families.

Teenage fostering

We currently have a high demand for carers who are able to look after children aged 11+ years.  The teenage years are a period of great change for most young people and looking after adolescents who cannot live at home can present many challenges but can also be very rewarding.

Adolescents can present with complex issues such as drug or alcohol misuse, poor mental health, education issues and criminal or risk-taking behaviour. You need to be available, flexible, committed and able to provide nurturing care within strong boundaries.  You need to have good negotiation and communication skills and a sense of humour. It is important that you don’t take things too personally.

Caring for adolescents may also include a parent and child placement where you will be helping the parent to care for their child.

Short breaks

We offer a well-established short-term break scheme in Norfolk, whereby we place disabled children for short stays (respite) so that their families can have a regular break, while the child has a different but enjoyable time.

The children may have a physical or sensory impairment, and most of the children who use the scheme have a learning disability.  The care offered can be anything from a few hours a week, up to a weekend every month. Some carers also care for a child in the child’s own home.

Most placements are planned, though sometimes emergency care is needed.  Specialist training and ongoing support is provided and when needed, appropriate equipment. A generous allowance is paid.

Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) / remand fostering

The PACE bed is used as a one-night only resource when requested by the police for a young person who would otherwise be held in police cells overnight until they appear in court the next day.

Remand fostering is required when a young person is remanded to the care of the local authority until they go back to court.

Parent and child fostering

Parent and child fostering requires carers who can support a parent (mother or father) who is experiencing difficulties.  The parent and their baby or young child are placed together in foster care. 

This type of fostering requires carers who may not be required to do the parenting care, unless requested, but could help and encourage the parent to develop their skills and gain in confidence.  The challenge is balancing the needs of the child whilst encouraging and supporting the parent. 

This kind of fostering is specialised and is often an alternative to a parent and child residential assessment unit.

Emergency fostering

You will need to have had previous fostering experience to undertake this task.  Children in need of emergency care will have been removed from their home at very short notice, for example if it is felt that they are at immediate risk of harm.  Children are likely to be highly traumatised and need skilled care.

Long-term care

This is sometimes called permanent fostering. It involves offering a child a long-term commitment as you care for them in your home for the remainder of their childhood.  Children are likely to need ongoing contact with their parents or other family members and part of your role would be to help them maintain these relationships.

Staying put

A 'staying put' arrangement is where a young person who has been living in foster care remains in the former foster home after the age of 18.  ‘Staying put’ allows further time to prepare for independence, until the young person is ready to move on to more independent accommodation.