Short Break, Weekend & Holiday, Emergency & Long Term Fostering
- What is short term fostering & why is it important?
- What types of fostering are considered short term placements?
- How you can help a vulnerable child or young person through short term fostering?
Many people would love to give children a loving home but feel that they can’t because of some personal commitments and often their jobs. Others aren’t quite sure that they are ready to make the leap into full-time foster care or indeed feel that they can give equal commitment to fostering in another way. Some people might have a period of time in mind they’d like to foster for (perhaps a year or more) before making other changes in their lives.
While there is always a huge need for people to give long term homes to children who need them, there are lots of other types of short term fostering that there’s a huge need for, too!
Types of fostering you might want to consider include:
Short break care – including weekend or holiday fostering:
Children often need short term care at weekends or over periods in the school holidays. They might already be in foster care, and they and the foster parents might sometimes benefit from a short break. Sometimes, this is planned well in advance, and sometimes it’s needed at shorter notice. This type of short term fostering can be perfect for people who want to foster but have a job during week days. It’s also great for people who work in teaching and learning establishments like schools, colleges or universities, who might have some more time over the holiday periods to foster short term.
Weekend or holiday short term fostering can be great for people with busy jobs who still would like to give a safe, warm and loving home to children. It can also be a good introduction to fostering for some before they do other types of fostering.
Temporary Emergency Fostering:
There might be a need for young people to quickly find a home, either temporarily or until a longer term placement is found. For example, a child’s parents might become ill or need a short break because their child has complex health needs or disabilities. Or they might be at risk and need a safe place quickly. You’d usually agree to take a young person for an agreed amount of time, often short term, either letting social workers find the best longer term home for the child to meet their needs or being a stable home until parents or other family members could provide a home to the child.
Too many children go into children’s homes because of a lack of available foster families, and some have to live way outside of the area they are from (and a long way away from their friends and family). Temporary, often short term fostering can be invaluable.
Other Short Term Fostering:
Short term fostering placements aren’t always emergency placements. Sometimes they can last months or years. For example, it might be in the child’s best interests that they are adopted, but a suitable adoptive placement can’t be found. Or it might be that the child might return to their family home. It may also be the case that there isn’t a permanent plan yet. Short term fostering can mean there’s more contact with birth families, who might be being supported and assessed by social services while the child is in your care.
Long Term Fostering
When it’s considered in the child’s best interest that there’s permeance, agencies may be asked to provide a long term placement. Alternatively, a child might come in as a shorter term placement, and then later, it might be decided to look for a long term placement (with the family they live with or with another family). The child’s feelings and wishes have to be taken into account, and a variety of others need to be consulted, including, where appropriate, their relatives. Children would usually remain with the foster family until they are 18 or 21 under “staying put” arrangements.
Every type of fostering requires a high level of commitment, and different types can be rewarding and challenging in their own ways. The different types of short term fostering, as well as long term fostering, mean that more people have the opportunity to be foster parents than many realise.
At Changing Futures Fostering, we’re all about providing our foster parents with the support they need to really make a difference in a vulnerable child’s life. If you need any more information on short term fostering, the different types of fostering or about fostering in general, please click here to contact us. Or, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01429 363 127 to speak to our brilliant fostering team!