Short-term foster care offers a child a safe and secure place to live. As a foster carer, you have an important role to play, helping the child to understand what is happening and to maintain links with their family and in making sure a child receives the help, support and encouragement they need. You will also play an important role in helping prepare a child for moving on - the next steps in their life.
While the child is with you, social workers will be working towards either reuniting the child with their family, or considering other options, such as long term fostering or adoption.
A short term foster placement could last from one night to several months and in some cases a little longer depending on the child, and their situation.
Long term foster care is given to children and young people when they are not able to return home to their birth parents and they need a permanent family to live with until they reach adulthood (usually 18 years old, sometimes longer). Most children who need long term care will have been in a short term fostering placement, while the child’s social worker has been working with the birth parents or developing plans for the child.
Long term foster care is about looking after the child as a member of your own family and preparing a child for independence, so the carers role will focus on supporting a child to learn and safely explore the world around them and the options and opportunities that are available to them.