Short term fostering means providing a child or young person with a place to stay until they can return to their own family, or until it becomes evident that they need a more permanent foster placement or possibly adoptive parents. Short term fostering is a very important part of the fostering service since many of the children who come into care need a short term solution to domestic or parental issues which prevent them from living at home for a certain period of time.
What does short term fostering involve?
A short term foster placement can last from a few days to several months depending on the situation. A short term foster carer will need to be available to respond to urgent or short notice requirements for foster placements from their fostering provider. They may also find they are needed to:
• Support a child through a difficult transitional period in their lives
• Help a child to rebuild a broken relationship with their own parents after a family crisis or domestic issues
• Assist a child in building an entirely new relationship with a long term foster family or adoptive parents
• Provide support to a child while their parent is in hospital or recovering from health issues
Why is shorter term foster care needed?
In short term fostering, a foster carer is relied upon to provide a safe, secure place to live while a child carries on their day to day life, continuing to attend school and see their friends and family wherever possible. Short term placements cover a number of situations, such as:
• Bridging placements, when a child or young person is awaiting a more permanent home
• Remand placements, whilst a child undergoes court proceedings
• Parental illness or family breakdowns
• Neglect, abuse or child protection issues
During a short term fostering placement a supervising social worker will usually be working alongside local authorities to plan for the long term future of the child. In some cases, staying with the short term foster carer and making the home a more permanent arrangement may be the outcome, if all parties agree that this is the best thing for the child.