When you consider becoming a child foster carer, it is important to note that there are a host of different types of placements. You need to identify the type of care you want to provide and what will work best for you and your family. You may find that taking in a long term placement is easier for you and your family than taking in emergency or short term placements.
There are thousands of children being introduced into the care system each year. Some require a stable home environment for a few days, while others require someone to provide them with a loving home on a permanent basis.
The first type of fostering placement you want to know about is emergency placements. Emergency placements are twenty four hour a day placements when a child comes in for care unplanned. This may be due to a number of reasons and the child just needs someone to take them in there and then and provide them with a stable home for the night, possibly a few days.
The next type of placement you may find is the best for you is short term placements. Children enter the care system for a range of reasons and in these instances children need a home for a few days, maybe a week or two while other arrangements are being made. You may feel that you don’t want to take on a child on a permanent basis, but you have the space to accommodate a child while a longer term placement is arranged.
Then there is parent and child placements. In some instances a parent with their child has nowhere to turn and needs someone to provide them with a roof over their heads until they get back on their feet or other arrangements are made. If you have the space, then you may be able to provide a parent and their child a supportive and caring home environment where they can feel safe and comfortable until other arrangements have been made.
Sibling fostering is one of the hardest for many children. Rather than separating brothers and sisters, foster agencies try and find someone who is willing to take on two or more siblings and provide them with the home environment they need. This can be long or short term. If you have the space in your home and the time to attend to more than one foster child, then this may be the best solution for you. In some instances one of the children may be special needs and they can be any age.
Bridging fostering is often when a child needs to be placed for a period of time while the adoption paperwork is approved. They may have already met their future parents, but until the documents are finalized, they need a place to live and be cared for. This is often also used when children are in the process of being moved to longer term placements or when future placements are busy being arranged.
Long term placements are often preferred, especially with families that already have children. This is the least disruption fostering solution for families and when they take a child in, they are with them for years, maybe even permanently. The reason these children are not up for adoption for a permanent home is their parents are unwilling to sign the adoption papers or agencies are struggling to find them an adoptive parent due to their age.
The final fostering placement is disability fostering. These are children which may have learning or physical challenges. Foster carers who take on these children should be trained and supported by their agency to ensure they provide the child with the best level of care moving forward.