Types of Foster Care

Children who need our support and care are individuals who require different things at different times in their lives. This means we need a variety of carers with lots of different life experiences and who can provide inclusive and energised care for Plymouth children.

Our children range in age from infants to older teenagers. They may need care for a few days, weeks or months. Some will need an alternative family for all their childhood. Children need stability and guidance. They need help to understand why they are not able to be looked after by parents or people that they know and will need lots of reassurance about their future.

Below are the different types of foster care

Time-limited (short term) foster care

This is a form of fostering which gives a child or young person a safe place to stay while their family continues to be supported to resolve problems they are having.
This placement aims to support the child while essential decisions are made regarding their future. This may be reuniting children with their own family or moving them forward to a permanent new family.

Who are the children?
Children who require to be fostered in time-limited placements are aged 0 to 18 and received into care for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes the problems at home can be resolved quickly. For others, it can take longer for families to get back on their feet.
Occasionally, the difficulties are such that a decision is reached that a child cannot return home. If this happens, the child will move to a permanent fostering or adoptive home.


Permanent foster care

A permanent foster home is needed for children, and young people who are unable to return to their birth family and finding an adoptive home has not been possible or has not been in the child’s best interests
This type of care is a long term commitment, and we ask that you are willing to stick with young people through good and tough times until they reach adulthood.
A permanent foster carer can be the inspiration to turn a young person’s life around, often bringing the carer and child in their care a deep sense of achievement.

The children
Children who need permanent fostering will have been looked after by the Local Authority and cannot return to their own homes for a range of reasons. They are likely to have experienced trauma and will require a supportive and loving family to support them into adulthood and beyond.


Parent and child foster care

This is a unique type of placement where you welcome not just a child into your home, but also their parent(s).
It’s designed to give a parent – or sometimes both parents – a safe place to live while a specialist social worker carries out assessments of their parenting capacity. The foster carer’s role is to support the parent and help the social worker assess the parent’s skills.
This is one of the most challenging, but rewarding placements we offer as you can help keep families together.

The birth parents
Birth parents will need help and guidance to cope with the responsibilities that come with being a parent. Being placed in this type of care allows the parent(s) to benefit from the reassurance and advice the foster carer can provide while the child is in a safe, nurturing and secure environment of a foster home.
Parent and child carers don’t provide full care of the child (except if required), but they support and encourage the parent(s) to develop their skills.
The foster carer has a vital role in observing and recording how the parent looks after the child.


Respite foster care

This is used to support our foster carers who have children placed with them. It could be that the foster carer requires a break from caring for their foster child regularly, whilst others might need support for their foster child just as a one-off arrangement.

The children
Children who need respite foster care are aged 0 to 18. They are in foster care for a variety of reasons.


Short break foster care

We sometimes offer this to the families of children who do not need full-time foster care and will continue to live with their families.
The child may have complex needs, such as a disability or a particular medical condition. We also offer short break foster care to families where there is a risk of family breakdown, which without support could result in the child coming into full-time foster care.
As every family is different, the commitment that is expected will vary. This could be a regular holiday break, weekend or overnight commitment to one or more children. This gives parents the chance to have a break from caring for their child, or if required, the time for parents to work through any difficulties they may be experiencing.

The children
Children who need short break foster care are aged 0 to 18. They need short break care for a variety of reasons.





Fostering for Plymouth