There are several different types of fostering to meet the different needs of children in care. Fostering placements can be on a long term or short term basis. Some types of fostering can be done alongside a ‘day job’, but some more specialist types of foster care will require a carer to be home based, when effectively fostering becomes their ‘job’.
Read through the different types of fostering below and think carefully about which type of fostering suits you – your skills, knowledge and circumstances. We will advise you and help you make a decision on which type of fostering is best for you.
Please see the Allowances and Fees page for the latest rates for all the different types of foster care.
Short Term Fostering
This is caring for children and young people for up to three months. This can also include short breaks for children, either from home or from other foster carers, for short periods of time such as overnight or for the weekend. If you are interested in looking after lots of different children and supporting them to move back to their birth families or on to alternative placements, this is a rewarding type of foster care with lots of variety.
This involves caring for children and young people for up to two years whilst plans are made for their future. Intermediate fostering would appeal to people who would like a child to settle with them and do not want the constant change of short term fostering. Intermediate foster carers are important in helping children and young people to return home to their birth family or move to adoption or long term foster placements successfully.
In practice many carers provide short term and intermediate placements.
This is about caring for children and young people for the rest of their childhood. Permanent foster carers support children and young people and are an important part of their family as they mature into adulthood. Most of the children and young people who need permanent fostering will be aged seven years and above.
School Holiday and Weekend Fostering
Some children and young people go to residential schools and do not have family members to care for them during the weekends and holidays. They need foster carers for these periods of time who will also remain in contact with them and support them during term time.
This is a good choice if you have a job that allows you to have time off at weekends and in school holidays and really want to commit long term to one child, who will grow up with you. Carers receive the fostering allowance when the child stays and a retainer per week for maintaining contact during term time.
Parent & Child
These are foster carers who are able to care for both a parent and his/her young child.
The role is one of support, advice and assessment in close liaison with the child’s social worker and your own supervising social worker. There may be requests for placements for mother and child, father and child or both parents and their child. This is a scheme that may be suitable for someone who is home based and can give practical and emotional support to young families to help them stay together where possible.
Home Based Care
This is a specialist service for young people who are aged 10 and over. They need one carer to be home based as these young people can be challenging and may not be in school all of the time. Their circumstances are complex and you will need to be available at short notice to care for a young person. This scheme appeals to people who enjoy working with teenagers and have some experience and understanding of the challenges they face. You will need time and patience but this scheme is very rewarding.
Single Placement Scheme for complex children and teens
This new scheme represents a rewarding, specialist branch of fostering, focusing on one child or young person at a time. Aged 10 and over, these children and teenagers cannot live with their birth families, and will have high level needs – behavioural, learning, emotional or medical – which means they must be the only young person in the household.
People who become Single Placement Carers will be part of a professional team, committed to supporting the young person with whatever comes up, and helping them make positive steps in their lives. They would need to be home-based, and will receive a weekly fee of £375 a week in recognition of their skills and responsibilities, as well as payments in between placements. Carers will also be given high level support and supervision from the Single Placement Care team, and the chance to attend a bi-monthly support group with other professionals to get advice and discuss strategies for helping the child or young person.
The child or teenager might need a high level of supervision and display behaviour that is of concern. They may have experienced abuse or neglect, or have parents unable to care for them. They could have complex medical needs and disabilities. They might need help with tackling their use of drugs and alcohol, or be known to the police.
Short Break Care
This is a specialist service for children with disabilities. They could have a learning disability, a physical or sensory disability, significant health care needs or a combination of these.
Most are cared for on a respite basis for short periods of time, such as one weekend per month and one evening per week. The aim of this service is to broaden the social lives and experience of these young people. This scheme appeals to people with experience of disability who have limited time to give but who want to make a real difference to the life of a disabled child or young person. Long term relationships are often forged between short break carers, the child or young person and their birth family.
A payment is made for each of the periods of time the child spends with their foster carer. This is at a higher rate than for mainstream fostering to take account of the extra needs of the child. More details are available on the Allowances and Fees page of this pack.
This scheme provides help, care and support to young people aged between 16–21 years who are between leaving care and living alone. The aim is to help them to develop their social and independence skills. This is a good option for people who enjoy being with young adults and can help them move towards an independent life.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)
This scheme aims to support and nurture children aged three to twelve, who are struggling to manage their behaviours and may have difficulties in the future as a result.
The foster carers will work closely with a professional team, including psychologists, social workers and teaching professionals, to provide the right levels of support and nurturing that each child needs. The team around the child are committed to help shape behaviour change in children in the hope of preventing long term difficulties.
Placements can typically last nine to twelve months. The carers will need to have some experience of child care and child development and a willingness to work with a professional team to provide therapeutic and structured support to turn a child’s life around. One foster carer will need to be home based and no other children can be living in the home because of the structure of the programme.
We offer specialist training, 24/7 on call support from a worker in the team who knows the carer and the child.
This scheme provides placements for young people who have been remanded to the care of Somerset County Council to await Criminal Court proceedings. Young people requiring remand placements could be aged between 10–18.The length of remand placements could vary from one to two weeks to several months. Whilst on the scheme, the young people will be given support and encouragement to tackle their offending behaviour by working through issues with their youth offending team worker, carers, and family.
Remand foster carers will be expected to encourage and arrange for the young person to attend court and legal appointments.
Remand foster carers will have the skills and preferably experience to deal with more difficult young people. Ideally, remand carers will not have children of their own or other children placed as this will reduce their capacity in terms of offending behaviour they can manage.
This scheme aims to provide emergency placements for children and young people in the evenings and at weekends. Being an emergency situation the purpose of the placement will be to ensure safety until a more appropriate placement is identified or the child returns to their family. Carers would need to be contactable and available from 5.00pm–8.00am on weeknights and all weekend on their ‘on call’ week, and have flexibility to be available on the morning after a placement is made. We pay carers a retainer for holding an emergency bed.