Fostering - interested in fostering?
Can I foster?
We are looking for people who are:
- over the age of twenty-one - we have no upper age limit, but you do need to be physically and emotionally fit to respond to the needs of children and young people
- able to provide a spare room for the foster child - you do not need to own your own home
- willing to work as part of a team, including with birth families
- willing to meet the needs of children in challenging circumstances
- able to be encouraged by a child's development
Types of fostering
There are a variety of fostering opportunities available, designed to meet the needs of children. Specifically, we want to hear from you if you can offer the following types of foster care:
- short-term foster care
- long-term foster care
- respite foster care
Short-term foster care
If a child is unable to remain with their own families, they will need to be looked after and accommodated. In these circumstances, we would seek long-term foster carers to care for the child. We work with the short-term foster carer to either enable the child to return to their birth family, or to settle with either a long-term foster family or adoptive family.
Short-term foster care can last from a few days to several months, occasionally longer. If a child has spent considerable time with a short-term foster care family and are unable to return to their birth family, carers may want to care for the child permanently.
We arrange short-term foster care for children of all ages. If a group of siblings are required to be looked after, we strive to keep the sibling group together in foster care.
Long-term foster care
If a child is already accommodated and can't return to their birth family or if adoption isn't appropriate, we would seek that the child live with long-term foster carers. Children who require long-term foster care vary in age, however most permanent foster placements are children over the age of eight and tend to be in frequent contact with their birth families.
Respite foster care
Respite fostering describes various kinds of part-time care, ranging from every weekend to once a month. There are various reasons for the need for respite - it could be for:
- families who do not have a strong support system, but can continue to bring up their own child if they know they can have a regular break once or twice a month.
- existing foster carers who require breaks (for instance a family wedding), or regular planned breaks, such as respite during school holidays (for instance, so they can have a week away with their own children).
We also have disability respite carers who enable a child with significant disabilities to have new experiences whilst their family have a break from their caring role. We provide full and ongoing training and support to disability respite carers to ensure they are confident in supporting the child with their disability. Usually we match disability respite carers with one or two families to provide once a month respite care over a weekend - this arrangement is often ongoing for a significant period of time, enabling the disability respite carer, the family and the child to create an effective and ongoing working relationship.
If you are interested in fostering, please see our information about the checks, training and assessment processes all prospective foster carers undertake prior to becoming a registered foster carer - read more.