There are many different types of foster care to consider

Before making a choice you should give some thought to what skills and experiences you have, for example, have you worked with children in a residential setting or a nursery. Previous experience may have an influence on the type of foster care placement you choose to offer. You should also consider what would be most suitable for your family.

These are the main types of Foster Care:


This type of fostering is used at short notice. Emergency foster carers will need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of the night or day and have them stay for a few days.


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 arrangement can be made. This can mean anything from an overnight stay to a period of several months but will be less than 2 years.


Sometimes children are not able to return to their own families for a number of years, if at all. Long-term fostering allows children and young people to stay in a family where they can feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family. There is a real shortage of long term of foster placements at the moment.

Leaving care and supported lodgings

Some foster carers specialise in helping young people prepare to live independently. Foster carers will need to help these young people develop self-confidence along with life skills, such as looking after their own health, budgeting, completing domestic tasks and managing social relationships.


Also known as ‘shared care’, this covers a variety of different types of part-time care. You might have a child to stay for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or their full time foster carers a break. This may be appropriate where children have behavioural difficulties or disabilities.

Parent and baby

Specially trained foster carers take young parents and their babies into their home, providing them with care and support whilst teaching them how to care for their baby.

Family and Friends/Kinship fostering

A child who is the responsibility of the local authority goes to live with someone they already know, which usually means a family member, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters.

Support care

There are a growing number of schemes which help to prevent children or young people coming into the care system by offering their families support before difficulties escalate to a point where the family can no longer manage. Foster carers offer part-time care to provide both the children and their family with a break. Arrangements are made to suit the needs of the family.

Specialised Therapeutic fostering

These are Foster Care placements for children and young people with very complex needs and/or challenging behaviour.