Short term fostering

Short term fostering, is also known as mainstream, temporary or task centred fostering, a short term placement can be anything from one night, several months or the average of a year, depending on the circumstances and the legal situation.

Short term foster care is the most used type of fostering and has less risk of disruption or break down than long term fostering. About 80 per cent of short term placements are with parental agreement and generally, most parents see temporary foster care as helpful.

Short term fostering is used when a child can’t stay at home or needs to be removed to a safe place because the parents are not able to provide good enough care. After the reasons for being fostered are resolved and plans are decided for the future, these children usually return home.  

If a return home is not possible, the child’s Local authority will find a permanent home (long term fostering or adoption) for the child.

Short term foster carers role

Foster carers help to prepare the child for his or her return home or move to a new family if long term fostering is needed. However, if it’s right for the child and the foster carer, the placement can be changed to long term.

Legal status

All children and young people placed in foster care are the responsibility of the Local Authority in the area where the child’s birth family are living.

The key responsibility remains with that Local Authority regardless of whether they are placed in authority care or with an independent fostering provider.

A child is ‘accommodated’ if provided with accommodation by the Local Authority via a voluntary agreement with parents or others with parental responsibility.

‘Accommodated’ children or young people does not usually involve a care order but might involve other court orders. Over 16 year olds can ask to be accommodated without the agreement of their parents.

Short term allowances

Private fostering agencies pay an average weekly allowance of £450 for each foster child. Find out more about allowances and pay.

Respite Care

Respite care suits people who might work full-time but want to become a foster carer. Respite tends to be needed at weekends and school holidays when the foster child’s carers need the support. Find out more about respite foster care.

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