Explaining Different Types of Foster Care

Foster children experience different levels of trauma that result in a versatile mix of unique needs. Therefore, it’s only logical that the foster care system has to be tailored to cater to all of these needs, which is why there are so many different types of fostering. If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, it’s important to understand the different variations. 

Short-Term Foster Care

Short-term foster care involves looking after children in need over short spells, whether it’s a few weeks, months, or even a couple of years. Short-term foster care aims to provide love and stability until the home environment is fit to return to or a long-term plan is established. Every child will come into foster care on a short-term foster care agreement while court proceedings take place.

Long-Term Foster Care

Many children start with a short-term foster care plan. However, if a suitable arrangement can’t be made with family members, their plan may transition to long term fostering. In this type of fostering, care is provided over many years, often until adulthood and beyond. Although this is called ‘long-term’, its name doesn’t come from the duration. Instead, it’s related to the permanence of the child’s upbringing. 

Emergency Foster Care

Life can throw out all sorts of obstacles, and some of them come from nowhere. This is what leads to children being placed into emergency foster care. The need for emergency foster care never sleeps, as arrivals can happen at any time of day or night. There are countless reasons for emergency care being required. For example, an unforeseen safeguarding issue emerges or something happens to the parents and there’s nobody else to provide care. 


Parenting can become stressful, especially when the child has special needs. Short-break foster care exists to allow such parents to take a little respite break. In most cases, children are placed for a short term at regular intervals, which allows a strong bond to form between the foster carer and the child. 

Remand Foster Care

When the courts order a child to be placed into foster care, it’s called remand fostering. The length of each stay is often short, and foster carers often work in tandem with youth offender officers. In most cases, remand foster care takes place instead of being held in custody. However, the need for this type of care often comes at short notice. If you’re in Scotland, you should note that this type of foster care isn’t currently used. 

Fostering for Adoption

There are some circumstances where local authorities believe that a child being adopted will be the best chance they have in life. This is when children are cared for by fully vetted and approved adopters. In the majority of cases, the local authority will already have parental consent for the eventual adoption to go through. 

Children in need of foster care have different needs, which is why there are many types of fostering. If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, you should learn the different types and align them with your home circumstances. 

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