Different types of fostering

The children and young people we care for need our support for various reasons but they’re all looking for the same thing - a safe, caring home.

There are different types of fostering that carers can choose to specialise in. It’s important to think about what kind of fostering would be more suited to you, your family and your situation. We’ll help you to do this during the assessment process.

Here are the types of fostering needed:

Short-term fostering

This is when children are placed with a foster carer for a limited period. It could be just an overnight stay, or a number of months. If you choose to foster short term, you must be able to offer a safe and secure home life and care for the child(ren) until we can reunite them with their family, move them to a long term placement, or find them a permanent adoptive family.

Long-term fostering

Most children and young people will return to their birth families, but for those who can't, we'll find them a long term foster carer.  If you choose to foster long term, the child would become a member of your family and live with you until they're 18. Where possible, you would help the child maintain positive links with their birth family.

Short breaks or respite fostering

Short break foster care is where vulnerable or disabled children, or those with behavioural difficulties, enjoy pre-planned regular stays with a new family to give their parents or usual foster carers a break. If you choose short break care, you can expect to look after a child for a day, a night, a couple of days, or a week. You could also help give a child a break away from their parents, for example helping them to get involved in social activities during weekends, holidays or after school.

Sibling groups

It can be better for brothers and sisters to stay together, so wherever possible, we'll try to find carers who can foster more than one child.

Parent and baby placements

Some mums or dads may need support and guidance in learning to care for their babies or young children. The parent lives with you, as well as the child, and you work with other professionals to see how they cope and help them develop as a parent, encouraging and supporting them without taking over their parenting responsibilities.

We’re currently looking for more people in the Wakefield district who could offer this kind of support.

There are also other ways that people provide support for children and young people. These are:

Family and friends (kinship arrangements)

Kinship care is when a child lives full-time or most of the time with a relative or friend who isn't their parent, usually because their parents aren't able to care for them.

Special guardianships

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is an order of the court under the Children Act 1989 which grants the holder(s) parental responsibility over a child until they reach the age of 18. It gives legal status to non-parents who are caring for or wish to care for children in a long term, secure placement whilst preserving the legal link with the child’s natural birth parents. The special guardian(s) are able to make day-to-day decisions on behalf of the child, for example in relation to their education.

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 years old (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their birth parent or a close relative. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more.

Birth parents and private foster carers are required by law to notify the local authority of the arrangements in place within six weeks of the start of the child moving into the private foster carer’s home.

We will then carry out our legal duty to ensure that the child is safe and well looked after by organising regular visits and offering advice and support when needed.

​Interested in fostering? Let us know and we'll phone you to talk it through.

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