Types of fostering

There are several different types of foster care; most foster carers tend to specialise depending on their experience, preference and own circumstances. 

During the assessment period we will help you to consider which type of fostering is best for you and your household.

Here are the different types of foster care:

Short term foster carer: Short term foster carers offer placements for a few days, weeks or months (up to about eighteen months) for children who will either return back to their families or move on to adoption or long tern fostering.

Long term foster carer: Long term foster carers offer a permanent foster home for a child or young person until they grow up.  If children cannot return to their families for whatever reason but adoption is not the correct option for them we will look for a long term foster family.  Children in long term foster care usually have some ongoing contact with family members.

Respite care: Respite carers offer a short stay, often weekends or up to a two week period to children in long term foster placements or children still living at home.

Family Link : Family Link is a service for children who have a disability and their families. Carers are matched with a specific child or young person and they provide regular short periods of care.  This  includes an overnight stay and is planned in advance.

Fostering to Adopt: Fostering to Adopt is when a child is placed with a foster carer who is also approved as a prospective adopter for the child. Sometimes a person who is already a prospective adopter for the child is given temporary approval as a foster carer while the local authority is working to gain legal consent.  Fostering to adopt often includes concurrent planning, where it is planned for the child to return to their birth family, however, if this fails the foster placement will become a placement for adoption.

Private fostering: Private fostering is when a parent arranges for a child under the age of 16(or under 18 if disabled) to be cared for by someone for 28 days or more who is not:

·         A parent

·        close relative (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent or step parent)

·         guardian or someone who with  parental responsibility.

A private foster carer might be a friend of the child’s family or relatives not mentioned in the list above, for example a cousin or great uncle.

It does not matter if the carer is paid or provides care for free – it is still regarded as private fostering. Private fostering is different from public fostering, which is arranged and paid for by the Council.

For more information on private fostering please see our Private Fostering page


If you would like to know about fostering Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.

“Think carefully about what child you are able to take on- their age/sex/how many are you prepared to have”

-B&NES  foster carer

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