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Understanding the Different Types of Foster Care

If you’re interested in signing up to become a foster parent, you might want to know what the different types of foster care mean, and how they might suit or not suit what you are able to provide. Whether you’re looking to foster a child for a long time or just want to be available in times of emergency to provide a home for a child, there’s a type of foster care that will suit you. Here are these types and what they mean.

Short Term and Long Term

When you think of foster care, you likely think of short- or long-term foster care.

Short term foster care is more temporary and might happen before a child can be moved or placed in a longer-term arrangement or even be returned to their family or adopted. These short-term foster care services requirements are usually short but can be a few months. During the time they’re with you, a longer-term care plan will be developed.

FCA Scotland explains that long term foster care is, as the name suggests, a longer-term arrangement. This is used for when the children aren’t able to return home and ideally it will be for the rest of their childhood and into the transition to adulthood. You can expect to foster a child in long-term foster care for a number of years and for the foster child to integrate into your family tightly.

Sibling Fostering

The fostering of siblings is in high demand because the need to keep siblings together is great, as there are many emotional benefits to this. Fostering siblings is very similar to short- and long-term fostering, but you’ll be caring for siblings so that they can be in a stable environment together. You might need some additional training to foster siblings.

Emergency Foster Care

Emergency foster care means taking in children at very little notice. This is usually because they have been removed from an unsafe home or environment and need somewhere to stay. Signing up for emergency foster care means you might get less than 24 hours’ notice before your foster child arrives at your door.

Fostering Disabled Children

Perhaps the noblest of all foster care is the care of disabled children. This might be a physical disability, or it might be a mental one, like autism or hyperactivity. You’ll need additional training and a lot of patience to foster disabled children, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Disabled children often require respite care and can temporarily be moved to a different carer or home, as the extra stress put on the foster carer can mean they need breaks.

You’ll see that you don’t always need to make a long-term commitment to make a difference when it comes to doing your part to contribute to the greater needs of society and the children who need help. You’ll have help every step of the way on your journey to foster care, so don’t be scared to start your journey with foster care if you want to have an incredibly rewarding experience and a massive impact on society.


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