Types of fostering

Our foster families give children and young people the love, care and stability they need.

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There are lots of different types of foster care that Action for Children Fostering can help with.

Types of fostering

Being a foster carer is a huge commitment but there are many types of foster care and you can find one that works best for you.

This could last for many years and into adulthood.

Action for Children Fostering will be with you all the way, supporting you emotionally, financially and with regular training. We offer 24/7, year-round support with a dedicated, qualified social worker.

Many of our foster carers give children a long term home until they’re ready to live on their own.

Some young people stay with their foster family into adulthood, whether they study or work. This is what we call "continuing care", “staying put” or "when I'm ready". We want children to feel part of a family.

This could last for days, weeks or months.

We will support you with all the training you need and will put you in touch with other foster carers with a view to forming relationships and gaining access to the “experts”. Some foster carers specialise in short term fostering only.

We recognise that, even in the short term, attachments can be made. It may be difficult for short term foster carers to have many young people come and go from their lives in a short space of time.

We celebrate the amazing work all of our foster carers do and we will be there for you if you need some emotional support.

Our extensive, tailored training programme will provide short term carers with the skills they need to help their young people settle in and feel cared for straight away.

As the name suggests, emergency care could be needed at any time of the day or night.

It is usually for a short period of time, until a permanent home is found.

This means that emergency foster carers need to be flexible, patient, calm, organised and ready to go when called on.

An emergency situation could mean that a child could be in danger if not removed from their current situation. This could cause trauma, emotional and/or behavioural issues – all of which we have seen before. We have the right training and tools to support our emergency foster carers, enabling them to deal with whatever situation they are faced with.

Being an emergency foster carer is a varied and rewarding role.

You may also need to liaise with professionals, parents and the child or young person's family to make sure the child can process and adjust to the current and future changes in their life.

Typically lasting around three months, this type of fostering involves safeguarding and supporting babies and young children to help their parents develop parenting skills.

The parent(s), who can be teenagers or adults ranging from 18 to 40+, live with you during this time, and care for the child under your observation and with your help.

This is a very different role from other types of fostering and is offered in only some of our services.

You receive additional training and support. Our current specialist carers have told us it can be extremely rewarding.

We’d be happy to talk to you if you wish to explore this further.

Planned breaks' carers play a vital role in supporting full-time foster carers and young people.

Providing cover during holidays and weekends gives full-time carers the chance to recharge their batteries and enables children to have new experiences. You will get to know different young people, so if you're good at building relationships, this could be for you! It would involve you looking after a child or young person for a few days, usually on a regular basis.

It’s also a great way for people considering fostering to get hands-on experience before committing fully.

You would still be provided with the same high level of support, training and resources as all of our other foster carers.

We have carers who provide a Short Breaks service to children and young people with disabilities.

This service aims to offer a safe, positive home-from-home experience to children and young people in which they can try new activities, develop their independence skills and have fun in another family environment.

Caring for children and young people with disabilities is an incredible thing to do. As a Short Breaks' carer, you will provide a safe and fun environment for children and young people with disabilities in your own home.

Each short break is for at least 24 hours, often two nights. These can be weekends, midweeks and school holidays. Some carers will do this as a full-time role. Others will do smaller chunks of short breaks.

Short Breaks' carers offer children and young people with disabilities a safe, meaningful and enjoyable experience with another family.

They also help families get a much-needed break to recharge their batteries.

Action for Children Fostering will make sure that all of our Short Breaks' carers are given the training and 24/7 support and advice they need to manage a child’s or young person's disability and health needs.

Where possible we try to keep brothers and sisters together.

Sibling relationships, like all relationships, are complex. But it’s usually in the best interests of the child to stay with their siblings.

Many of our carers who foster siblings say how rewarding it is.

There’s nothing better than knowing you are keeping siblings together.

Giving them the opportunity to grow up together and have shared experiences. Helping them have a shared history.

This offers young people a home after they reach the age of 18 (sometimes referred to as “when I’m ready”).

This may enable the young person to continue their education through college or university.

It makes them feel like they really are part of your family and gives them the foundations they need to thrive.

Within a therapeutic foster home, our foster parents look after and provide a loving home for children and young people who have faced severe disruption, abuse or trauma. These young people are likely to have complex needs, attachment difficulties and challenging behaviours. Action for Children Fostering will provide you with access to our professionals in this field and all the training and support you will need to manage any situation that may arise.

Our therapeutic approach

Therapeutic training (HOMES)

This can be for a short term emergency or a long term home.

Our foster carers provide the security and safety of a loving home to children and young people who are waiting for an asylum application decision.

Parent and child fostering

Passing on your parenting skills to another parent and teaching them to safely care for their child can be hugely rewarding.

Fostering families

Fostering will have a huge impact on any existing children in the household.

Action for Children Fostering provides support to the whole fostering family and engages the existing children at the very start of the fostering process.

Fostering children with disabilities

Fostering a child with disabilities can bring you new skills and insights. Your care, love and support can make a real difference for the better and allow them to reach their full potential.