Mainstream Fostering

There are a number of specialist schemes within fostering, such as the Step Forward scheme focusing on children leaving residential settings, and Stepping Stones which supports teenagers leaving care - but for the majority of people, mainstream fostering will be the best match for you, your circumstances and your strengths.

This is by far our most popular type of fostering, and within it, there is the flexibility to foster children on a short-term or more long-term basis, depending on what works best for you.

 Fostering won't make you rich, but your life will be enriched
 by these wonderful children and young people.
Jane, Foster Carer

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.

Intermediate Fostering
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.

Long Term & Permanent Fostering
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.

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