The right type of fostering for you

We know that the decision to become a foster carer can take years, and a lot of careful thought, consideration and research. There are many different types of fostering that foster carers can choose to consider; short-term or long-term, ranging from a few days, weeks, months or even years. Children may need foster care from the moment they are born, and some children stay in care up to the age of 18 and beyond. Some children may return to their birth families, others may be supported through continued fostering until they are ready to live independently, and some may move onto adoption.

Here, we look at some of the most common types of fostering, each with their own challenges and rewards.

Short-term foster care

The most common type of fostering is called short-term foster care. Depending on a child’s circumstances, a short term placement can last from a few days to several years, and as a short-term foster carer you can provide a stable and loving home whilst a longer term plan is made. The child may return home, move to live with other family members who have been assessed, or move into long-term fostering or adoption.

Long-term foster care

Some children can’t return to their birth family and may be placed in long-term foster care until they are ready to live independently. A family home can provide the security and stability that a child needs to thrive and reach their full potential in life.

Parent and child

Some parents may need extra support to help them care for their child or baby. Parent and child foster carers provide a home for both the parent and their child and work with the parent to help them look after their child independently wherever possible. The parent will receive help and advice, enabling the parent and child to stay together and to develop a strong relationship at a crucial developmental stage. For more information on parent and child fostering, read our 'everything you need to know' article.

Respite care

Some children need to be looked after for a short period on a regular basis. This could be for as little as one weekend per month or for a holiday. Respite care can give parents or other foster carers a break or can prevent a breakdown in the family. Some foster carers offer respite care in addition to other short and long-term placements whilst others prefer to just offer respite care.

Supported lodgings

Supported lodgings carers provide an opportunity for young people (16/17 year olds at risk of homelessness and care leavers 18+) to live in the home of someone who will help them develop the practical skills and emotional maturity they need to move on to independent living. Carers provide a safe and supportive family home and have the time to teach simple life skills. Every young person is different, but they may need help with getting into education, training or work, managing money, shopping, learning to cook and do housework, attending appointments or building confidence. For more information on supported lodgings, visit our supported lodgings page. 

Emergency care

Sometimes a child will need to be placed immediately with a carer for a few nights and some foster carers will be specially trained for this type of placement.

It is important to explore which type of fostering will be most suited to you and your family and we will help to guide you through the options. Whichever type of foster care you are interested in providing, we will offer you a range of training and support to help you grow your knowledge so you can provide the best care possible.


If you’re thinking of fostering, take the first step today. There are so many children who need support. Call 01273 295444 to speak with a member of our friendly team Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, complete an online enquiry or e-mail us at

Alternatively, please join us at one of our online information events. These informal sessions are a chance to meet experienced foster carers, understand the role of fostering and learn about the support you will receive.

Find out more about fostering by downloading our information booklet

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