Long term fostering
About longer term care
If a child is unable to return to the care of their birth family, but adoption is not appropriate for that child, long term foster carers may need to be found to care for them.
Long term foster carers will normally care for a child for a longer period of time than a short term carer, often through to independence. Children who need long term fostering are likely to be older children. These older children may benefit from keeping in regular contact with their brothers, sisters, parents and wider family.
Children in long term placements
Both children and young people can benefit from longer term foster care. The child’s age is not the deciding factor but it’s the child or young person’s feelings, thoughts and needs that are the most important when making decisions about the type of placement.
The decision for long or short term fostering can be made before the child or young person is placed in foster care, or during the course of a placement.
The benefits of long term foster care
- Time to feel a real member of the family, to learn, to feel cared for, to feel encouraged and in a safe and stable family home.
- Time to build attachments, have trust in someone looking out for them and encouraging their ambitions, just like all parents should do for their own children.
- Time to feel settled, safe and where possible, have consistent, positive support to keep in touch with their birth family.
- Time to builds a positive sense of identity, to find out about their past and to better cope with the big changes to come in their lives.
- Time to settle in school, to move on to employment or be better prepared to move back to their family or to live independently
Long term foster care gives carers the chance to help break the cycle of moves and it gives them a better sense of achievement when they see how a child progresses.
Foster carers are also given more authority to make day to day decisions for the children, which is more empowering and better meet the needs of the foster child or young person.
Significantly, long term fostering provides improved financial stability to foster carers.
Find out about short term fostering
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