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Types of Foster Care: Short Term Fostering

Short term fostering, or short term foster care is when a child stays with a foster family for a finite amount of time. Although considered a temporary form of foster care, short term fostering can sometimes be confused with emergency foster care – click here to read more. 

What is Short Term Fostering 

Short term foster care usually occurs whilst the child’s long-term care plan is being considered. This means that the short term fostering placements can vary from a few days to up to 2 years; making short term fostering a vital resource for providing stability for children who are looked after. Although only a temporary foster care arrangement, it can sometimes develop into long term foster care- where a child’s long term care plan is to stay with the family for years, often until adulthood. 

Short term fostering is a great way to begin your career as a foster parent and gain experience in the role. Short term foster care placements are for children and young people who need to be looked after temporarily and is the most common type of fostering placement. It is usually for children and young people who are either in care proceedings or whose parent(s) or care givers are unable to look after them in the short term. 

Reasons why a child or young person may need to go into short term foster care

  • Their parents are finding it difficult to cope with caring for a child at that time
  • The family is going through care proceedings – so the child goes into foster care while decisions are made about who will look after them in the future
  • The child is waiting to be adopted

The term short term foster care, or short term fostering can be misleading and suggests that children live with foster parents for a finite length of time whether it be a few weeks or a few months. In reality, short term simply refers to the fact that permanent plans for the child’s future have not yet been formally agreed. This is why it is sometimes confused with ‘temporary foster care’. Short term fostering can mean children staying with their carers for up to two years whilst the court process and the permanency plan is finalised. 

During a short term foster care placement, the child’s social worker will carry out an assessment and determine the appropriate care plan for the child, which could mean reunification with their birth family, remaining in a foster home on a long-term basis or perhaps adoption. Short term fostering can involve the carer having a high level of contact with the children’s birth family to support the possibility of their reunification home. Short term foster parents could also play an important role in introducing children to their new long-term fostering or adoptive families.  

Click here to hear from Davin, a care experienced young person who speaks highly of the care provided to him by Family Fostering Partners Foster Parents.

Families who haven’t previously fostered often chose to start their career by offering short-term placements because it can provide foster carers with an opportunity to get used to their new role without the pressure of offering a long-term commitment. Every situation is different however and sometimes children placed with a foster family on a short-term basis can then go on to remain there long-term if all parties agree that this in in their best interests.  

 Short term foster care provides an opportunity to really make a difference during a time of immense change in a young person’s life. 

 If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03300 948816 or visit our contact us page. To read about temporary foster care  or emergency fostering, please click here. 

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