Children needing foster care include those with medical conditions or physical or learning disabilities, such as autism, hyperactivity, attention deficits, or reading difficulties.
Foster carers need have a particular interest in looking after children with disabilities and special needs because these children need special love, be prepared to provide more care and attention, the ability to manage special medication or care routines, in some cases, carers need to have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.
Their carers must be:
- Interested in helping them reach their full potential
- Be willing to undergo specific extra training
- If appropriate, to learn related communication or medical skills
Support and ongoing specialist training is provided to foster carers willing to undertake this often highly rewarding work and there is extra relevant training, supervision and fostering allowance for foster carers of children with disabilities.
Because it is accepted that the pressure of looking after children with disabilities can put people under added pressure, it is possible for foster carers to be given short respite breaks.
This could mean that the child will be looked after temporarily by another carer from the short breaks team, or alternatively, they may be accommodated overnight or for a weekend in a specialist residential unit for children with disabilities.
School holiday and Saturday schemes
Activity-based programmes are available throughout local authorities for children and young people with disabilities.
This service assesses children and families and provides aids and equipment. It can organise appropriate services to assist with a child’s overall care and development.
Learning and development
Carers of disabled children have access to specialist training opportunities such as Makaton, sign language, and manual moving and handling.
Children and young people with disabilities usually have a statement of special educational need. This identifies the extra help a child needs to access the school curriculum either with assistance in a mainstream school or in a special school.
Opportunity playgroups and youth services
Foster carers will get support and help from nurseries, education, and youth services which provide specialist help and support to children with disabilities.
Find out more about Therapeutic Fostering.