Foster care in the short or long term is a way of offering children and young people a safe, friendly environment living in a family who can offer support and guidance. The benefits of such care can be apparent as he/she moves on in life regardless of whether this is a return to the parental home, a move to permanent placement or indeed into his/her own accommodation. All children have the right to be cared for, nurtured, supported and guided through life. The task of fostering is not an easy one; however, it can be a very rewarding one. It is a role that requires considerable commitment because caring for another person’s child affects all those in the household.
Temporary foster care
Temporary care can mean anything from a week to a few months. The expectation is that the child/young person will be moving on either to return to the parental home or into a permanent placement. Temporary carers have an important role to play in preparing children to move on and this usually involves regular contact with the child’s parents and Social Workers. They are also likely to be closely involved with the child’s school, Children’s Hearing and perhaps other professionals, all of whom are interested in helping to meet the child’s needs and promoting the child’s well-being.
Although temporary care is, challenging and our temporary carers are generally kept very busy, there are rewards, the main ones being that you can help a child through a difficult period in his/her life and may help a child to return home or move onto a permanent care placement.
Other forms of temporary care are: “planned respite” which can offer either parents or foster carers some respite. All foster carers are entitled to two weeks respite a year.
Permanent foster care
This form of foster care means welcoming a child/young person into your family and supporting them until the time is right for the child to move on to a more independent setting. The option of permanent foster care as opposed to adoption is dependent on individual circumstances. There may well be legal or emotional barriers preventing adoption, but the needs of the child are such that they require a secure permanent placement in a family.
To be linked with a child as a permanent carer for a particular child, the match needs to be presented at the Approval & Matching Panel.
Many carers make an application to be both temporary and permanent foster carers to meet the needs of children. Currently several carers manage a dual role.