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Types of Foster care

There are different types of fostering options for you to choose from depending on your own preferences, experience and circumstances. Every child and young person will have different needs and therefore require different types of placements. The assessment process will help to identify the type of foster care that is best suited to you and your family.

Short term foster care

Short term fostering placements are for children and young people who require temporary care. Often this is because their families are unable to look after them during a particular time. This could be because their parents are unwell or unable to cope at that time. Alternatively the family may be going through care proceedings – so a child might go into foster care in the short term while decisions are being made about who will look after them in the future.

The length of a short term fostering placement can vary significantly, depending on the individual circumstances of the child. The placements could be as short as an emergency overnight stay, a few weeks or as long as a number of months up to two years.

Compared to other kinds of fostering placements short term carers often have higher levels of contact with the children’s birth family whilst assessments are underway, and can also be involved in introducing children to their new adoptive families. Part of your role will be to support the child to move on.

Permanent / Long Term Foster Care

Long term foster placements give children an opportunity to live in a stable foster placement with a committed carer until they reach adulthood. Long term fostering gives children a sense of consistency and belonging, helping them to developing positive new relationships and build links within their local community.

Long term foster carers offer the permanent one-to-one support and care that these young people need to thrive. This type of care is a long term commitment and you need to be willing to stick by them through the good and bad times until adulthood. You really could make a difference to their future.

You need to embrace them as another member of your family while recognising that they still have a relationship with their birth family. Long term fostering can appear to be very similar to adoption however unlike adoption a child in care with you on a long term foster placement will remain the legal responsibility of the local authority. With adoption, the legal responsibilities for the child are transferred to their adoptive parents.

Placements for Children and Young People seeking asylum

In Portsmouth we have children and young people seeking sanctuary and asylum in the UK. These children have travelled a long way, have been separated from their family and often speak little or no English. We are looking to recruit carers who can meet the cultural and religious needs of these young people and offer them a safe environment.

Supportive lodgings - Lodgings Plus

Portsmouth has a supportive lodgings scheme which pays people to provide lodgings accommodation for young people aged 16 and over. We need people who can provide accommodation and a minimum of 10 hours support a week to young people taking their first steps into independence.

Many of these young people will have previously been placed in foster homes or residential children's homes or are homeless 16 and 17 year olds. Could you be a young person's inspiration and mentor and help them get off on the right start to a successful independent life.

As these young people have a degree of independence this placement option can fit in well with carers who have work commitments.

Parent and child placements

A parent and child placement is a specialist foster placement involving a foster carer providing care to babies and young children alongside one or both parents. These arrangements are usually short term offering support and advice so that parents can care for their own child, they could also include parenting assessments and court proceedings.

These placements are intensive and foster carers doing this work need good communication skills and the confidence to monitor and assess parenting potential. 

Family Link

Our Family Link carers provide regular short breaks for children with complex needs, such as a disability or medical condition. This gives the child's parents a chance to have a regular break, whilst giving the child opportunities to meet new people and do different things.

You will need to have a genuine interest in providing short term care for a child with disabilities, within your home. These placements can last from a few hours up to a weekend.

Respite carers

Respite carers provide breaks for children who usually live in full time foster care or children who do not need full time foster care. This could be a regular holiday break, weekend or overnight commitment to one or more children, or a one off break to different children. Respite care involves providing breaks for children and young people to give their parents or other foster children a break.

Becoming a Family Link carer, respite carer or supportive lodgings carer (Lodgings Plus) is a great way for you to make a real difference to a Portsmouth family or young person, whilst still being able to maintain your work commitments.

To talk through these placement types, find out more and ask us any questions you may have, call us today on 023 9283 4071 and one of our fostering team will be happy to help. 

What is Private Fostering?

Private Fostering is different from general fostering, applying where a child under 16 (or under 18 if they’re disabled) lives with an adult who is not a close relative for 28 days or more, or if the intention is for the arrangement to last 28 days or more.

There can be many reasons why a child doesn’t live at home and someone else is required to care for them:

- Family breakdown or divorce
- Parent subject to custodial sentence
- Parent arranging for child to be cared for whilst they work or study away
- Children and young people living with host families whilst they attend an education or sport academy away from their home town
- Child from outside the UK living with relatives or friends in the UK
- Young people on school exchanges for 28 days or more

These types of care arrangements are private fostering, whether or not money is exchanged. Legally Portsmouth City Council must be informed of these arrangements by the person looking after the child, or the child’s parents if the child is living in the Portsmouth area.

However many parents and carers are not aware of this and therefore don’t notify the council even though it’s against the law not to do so. If you are the parent of a child who is being looked after by someone else or you are looking after someone else’s child you must let the council know:

- Six weeks before the arrangement begins...
- ... Or within 48 hours of an emergency arrangement starting

Private foster carers must also notify the local authority within 48 hours of a privately fostered child leaving their care, giving the name and address of the person into whose care the child has been moved.

Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their child is in a suitable and safe private fostering arrangement. Parents maintain parental responsibility and continue to be involved in all decisions about their child’s life. Parents should ensure there is a formal agreement with the private foster carer so everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities - Portsmouth City Council can assist you with this.

Education and Health Professionals:

Education and health professionals are often the first people to become aware of these arrangements and have a duty to satisfy themselves that the local authority has been notified. Advice should be given to the private foster carer and/or parent of the legal requirements for them to notify the local authority.

Professionals should contact the local authority to ensure this notification has or will be made. If you have concerns that a child may be at risk of harm you should follow the child protection procedures.