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Guide: Types of fostering

Mainstream fostering

This is the most common form of fostering and means giving a child or young person a safe place to stay, perhaps for a night or two whilst their family are helped to resolve their problems, through to a longer-term or even permanent arrangement.

You can also be asked to offer on-going support to a family or another foster carer by looking after a child on a regular basis, say one or two weekends a month. If you have the space, you can look after brothers and sisters who would otherwise be separated.

In some cases the child will wish to stay in touch with their birth family, you will be providing the safe and stable environment which makes this possible.

Some foster carers provide round-the-clock care, helping children with the most challenging behaviour to find a safe haven, a supportive family, and a place in society. This level of foster care comes with additional support, training and higher rates of pay.

There are times when you may be asked to provide respite care.

Respite care helps ease situations where a parent has a long-term illness, it can give families time to repair relationships before a permanent breakdown occurs, or it can provide support to another foster carer as required.