Not every child in foster care requires the same kind of foster placement as another child, despite how similar their life experiences look. But what are the different types of foster placement, why are they needed and what skills do modern foster parents need?
Removing children from their birth families is a last resort, but it is the start of a journey for the child or young person that can see them leave trauma behind.
We know that love, care and attention are key factors in nurturing a child to being a well-rounded adult. It is, therefore, the crux of every successful foster placement.
It isn’t always enough, sadly and that’s why foster carers are trained to offer a range of foster placements. Some are considered foster care specialists, a foster parent and placement for looked after children with specific needs. Within this placement, children are able to explore and deal with life issues that affect them.
So what kind of fostering placements are there? Can you see yourself being able to give a looked after child a home?
Short, long-term and respite.
The reasons why children can’t live with their parents or extended birth families are many, varied and complex.
Looked after children will usually have experienced some kind of traumatic start in life but understanding that they now live in the safety of a foster placement is the first step in helping to make that right.
Short term can be anything from a few days to months but is not usually longer than two years. This type of placement is generally needed by a child who is being considered for adoption.
Long-term fostering placement sometimes referred to as permanency, is when the decision is made for the child to remain in foster care for the long term. It is usual for them to stay with the same family for the long term.
Respite placements can be for a number of reasons and are what the name suggests – a short-term placement for the child. From foster parents taking paid leave to a young carer having a break, respite is often sorely needed.
Specialist fostering placements.
It is a fact that the children and young people in the care system often have complex needs. And as such, foster carers are now choosing to pursue fostering as a career, offering specialist placements in which young people and children are helped to deal with very specific issues.
Could you see yourself being able to offer any of these fostering placements?
- Step Down fostering placements – young people leave the care system at 18 years but for some, this step away from institutionalised care is difficult. This type of fostering placement is where a foster carer works closely with a young person in their own home to equip them with life skills, from cooking to budgeting...
- Parent and child placement – when a young parent has a support network, they can learn to parent their child in a safe environment. When this isn’t possible, and there are concerns for both the parent (or parents) and their baby, a parent and child foster placement is the answer. From life skills and parenting skills, to general support and guidance, this type of foster placement often brings many challenges.
- Placement for a child with disabilities – not every child enters the care system because they are abused or neglected. For some families, coping with a child with disabilities may be rewarding, but physically and emotionally hard. This kind of placement helps them to recharge their batteries while a trained foster carer looks after their child. This type of placement can sometimes lead on to being a permanent arrangement too.
- Remand placements – when a young person is facing a criminal charge, rather than hold them in a young offenders institution or custody, they will live with a foster carer specially trained in working with young people on remand, displaying challenging behaviour and so on.
Many fostering agencies also offer fostering placement for unaccompanied refugee children, a sign of how much our society is changing.
All foster carers make a positive difference in the lives of foster children. Could you?
Foster Care Associates are seeking foster carers to look after children and young people to help them leave the trauma of their past behind. Do you have the time, energy, a spare bedroom and a positive outlook?