Long before the husband and I decided to start our own family, we discussed fostering or even adoption. I was in a place whereby I wasn't sure that I wanted my own child but felt that instead, we could offer a home for one or two of the many children who are in care. I knew people who had grown up in foster care and how much they valued those families. Even now, it is still something we will consider if we are ever in a better position in terms of housing (we only have a two bedroom flat).
If you’re considering foster care then there is a tremendous amount to consider and organise. However, one thing that might not have crossed your mind is exactly what type of foster care you feel is best. Some don’t actually realise that there are several types of foster care, all offering something a little different.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of foster care available.
This is probably the type of foster care that springs to mind for most people but is very different to other forms. With permanent fostering (or long-term fostering) the foster family will look after child until they reach adulthood. This option is often preferred over adoption if the child still has strong links to the birth family.
However, the foster carers have no legal responsibility for the child at any point. This is slightly different in Scotland, where the carers can share responsibility with local authorities and the birth parents.
Short-term Foster Care
This is pretty self-explanatory and involves the foster family looking after the child for a short-term, usually a few weeks or months, whilst more permanent arrangements are put in place.
Emergency Foster Care
This is a little like short-term foster care but is for an even shorter length of time and may only be a few days. This can be at very short notice so the foster carers would need to be prepared to take a child in at pretty much any time. This may occur if the child needs to be quickly taken out of their home for whatever reason.
This may sound a little odd to some, but private fostering involved the birth parents making private arrangements for their child to stay with someone who isn’t a close relative, usually for a period of more than 28 days. However, the local authority must be told about the arrangements and will still pay visits to check on the situation and the welfare of the child.
Remand fostering involves looking after a young person who has been placed under the care of a local authority by the courts. The young person would stay with the foster carers while they await court proceedings; this is usually on a short-term basis and provides an alternative to being in custody. The foster family will often be expected to work closely with youth justice officials.
Quite simply, this is where a child is cared by someone they already know, probably a family member or close family friend. This is what my Uncle and Auntie have offered to my two younger sisters since our Mum died and enabled them to continue to grow up together as they have different Dads.
Parent & Child Care
This is a type of care that many people might not know about but can be incredibly beneficial. This is where a foster family takes in a child and parent (often the mother) and helps them prepare for the future.
It’s important that you’re fully informed about all aspects of foster care if you’re thinking about becoming a carer, so it’s always best to speak things through with professionals such as Capstone Foster Care to get a complete picture.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.