Types of Fostering
The role of foster carers
As one of our foster carers, you'll do more than simply offer a safe home to children or young people. It's all about providing an environment where children can grow and develop to their full potential, making sure all their health and educational needs are met - even in short term placements. You'll be expected to transport children to and from school and contact with their families and protect them from harm. You'll work closely with a supervising social worker, who will support you every step of the way. Another social worker from the Council's childcare team supports the child/young person and looks after their general welfare.
The role of foster carers includes:
- Helping children to look after themselves
- Teaching them to recognise inappropriate behaviour
- Making sure they know how to get help if they feel unsafe
- Building relationships with the children in your care and helping them to relate to and trust others
- Helping them to develop healthy friendships and attachments with other children and with adults
- Helping them to keep links with their families and friends (where appropriate)
- If appropriate, getting to know birth parents and helping them develop their relationship with their child
- Helping the child / young person to understand and feel positive about their religion, origin and culture. We try to match children with foster carers of a similar ethnic background, but this is not always possible. As a foster carer, you must be willing to promote a child's cultural and religious background, even if it is different from your own.
- Following an agreed care plan and keeping written records of the progress of all children or young people who are in your care.
- Contributing to reviews and reports about the child. You will get support and training to enable you to do this.
What type of fostering is for you?
Many people don’t realise that there are many types of fostering. It is difficult to categorise foster care but this is a summary of the different types of care looked after children may need.
During the assessment process you and your supervising social worker will decide which type of care you are best suited for.
Short term care can mean that a child or young person will stay with you for just a few days or a much longer period. The length of stay will depend on the child’s or young person’s circumstances and those of their family. Many children who are looked after by short-term foster carers eventually return to their families.
Our aim is for children and young people to be cared for by their families, but this is not always possible. Sometimes we need to find a permanent substitute family, although children/young people may continue to have contact with their families. In these cases, the child / young person remains in the Council’s care on a long-term basis. Long term foster carers provide a safe and secure home for them to grow up in and help to prepare them for adulthood.
Short break carers offer planned respite care for families of children and others with complex and additional needs, perhaps for an evening or weekend. A planned short break can help to alleviate family difficulties. Careful matching takes place and these arrangements are reviewed, making sure everyone is happy. Short break carers are approved and trained the same as other foster carers.
Sometimes mother and baby placements are needed to support young mothers and help them care for their babies. Some carers have developed skills in this area of work. They take part in assessments and encourage young mothers without taking over their parental responsibilities.
We have a particular need for foster carers who can look after brothers and sisters (known as sibling groups) of two or more children.