Emergency foster carers will need to be prepared to take a child into their home at short notice or in the middle of the night and have them stay for a few days. This type of fostering is used when a lone parent is taken into hospital and there is no one to care for the child. The aim of this type of placement is to provide an immediate safe place for the child or young person to stay to allow longer-term plans to be considered.
Respite foster carers provide foster care on an occasional basis. Also known as ‘short break’ or shared care, this covers a variety of different types of part-time care. This could occur when a family requires a short break from caring for their child, for example, where their child has behavioural difficulties, special needs or is disabled. Foster carers themselves may also require a short break and respite foster carers can support a full-time foster family by caring for the foster child. Respite foster care can develop into a regular arrangement or remain infrequent and can range from supporting a child for a few hours, to a couple of days, to a holiday.
Short-term foster carers can expect a child or young person to reside with them for a period of a few weeks to several months and therefore this role becomes the primary focus for the lead carer. Short-term foster carers provide a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer-term fostering placement or adoption arrangements can be made. It is not uncommon for this arrangement to continue for over a year whilst plans to secure the child’s future are made.
Long-term foster carers provide care to children and young people over a significant period of time, sometimes for many years until they reach adulthood and can live independently. It is recognised that sometimes children are not able to go back to live with their own families and long-term fostering allows children and young people to stay in a family environment where they can feel secure, whilst maintaining contact with their birth family.
There are other types of specialist foster care such as remand fostering where specifically trained foster carers provide care and accommodation to young people who have offended and are placed on remand by the Courts. This is sometimes seen as an alternative to placing young people in a secure unit or prison.
Another type of specialist fostering is parent and child fostering. This is when a foster carer provides opportunity to a parent and their child to live in the foster home. This type of fostering is undertaken by specially trained foster carers who will observe and assess the progress made by the parent and the child. The information provided by the foster carer often forms part of a wider court-directed assessment into the feasibility for that parent keeping their child.
Therapeutic foster carers join the EFC team, working closely with the Clinical Team members to provide therapeutic parenting and an overall therapeutic experience. This means working together in a way that provides the total experience for the child/young people that will help them to address their emotional distress and manage their behaviour patterns. Foster carers provide consistent, reliable and boundaried parenting within a therapeutic framework receiving specialist supervision, training and support throughout the time that the child is part of the family.
Some young people need assistance with the transition to independent living. A supported lodging scheme aims to help young people make the move from fostering to independent living whilst receiving specific support from the foster carers in a safe environment.
Extracts taken from The Fostering Network and BAAF 14
This level of fostering will provide services to children in the foster home who are looked after for various reasons, but do not necessarily have additional needs. The children or young people at this level will attend mainstream school.
This level of fostering requires a therapeutic parenting approach to be provided to the children and young people. Foster carers at this level will have the skills and/or be trained to look after children and young people with more complex needs, sometimes children will have behavioural difficulties arising from their experiences. Foster carers providing enhanced placements have access to and are supported by our Clinical Team and increased support from our Social Work Team. An education link may be used to support each child or young person in mainstream school with additional support.
This level of fostering caters for children and young people with the most complex needs who have considerable difficulties. Comprehensive assessments are undertaken with a view to multi-agency support and an intensive level of input from Enhanced Foster Care’s support team. Foster carers at this level will be suitably experienced and trained to work therapeutically with children and young people experiencing trauma and presenting a high level of emotional and behavioural difficulties. As such, they receive a high level of support from our Clinical Team, our Social Work Team and attend advanced training and qualification courses.
Alongside mainstream foster carers, Enhanced Foster Care registers carers to provide parent and child placements, this means that a parent (s) move into the foster carers home with their child(ren), often newborn babies for a time limited period. These placements are used for the purposes of assessing a parent’s capacity to care for their child safely, identify the correct level of support and service a family needs to live safely and also be support placements to young parents.
Assessment-type Parent and Child placements are generally requested by local authorities as part of care proceedings and will ultimately determine whether a parent is able to return to the community with the care of their child. As a foster carer offering a parent and child placement you will be required to provide a high level of care, guidance and supervision to the parent and his/her child. A qualified Social Worker and specialist court witness will work closely alongside you to use your experience and observations to create a comprehensive assessment for the court.
For those foster carers undertaking parent and child assessments, it is recognised that they will have undertaken specialist training and that the level of supervision and support required by the placement will be higher. In these cases, a standard fee and allowance will be paid to the carers. In these circumstances the foster carer will receive an increase in the care allowance.
Foster carers receive a weekly allowance for fostering which is paid on a fortnightly basis. The allowance is made up of a fostering fee which covers the work they do and an allowance which covers the cost of caring for the child or young person (this covers clothing/footwear, food, household costs, pocket money, leisure/hobbies, attendance at meeting, travel, educational support, contact, holiday costs and so on). Inevitably the allowances increase in line with the tiered levels and the type of fostering being provided. Currently the allowance is tax-free and the fee is taxable, foster carers are treated as self-employed and would need to submit annual tax returns.