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What is the Difference Between Short-term and Long-term Foster Care?

Foster carers make a huge difference in the lives of children who need loving, welcoming, stable, and secure homes. If you want to foster, you may come across short and long-term fostering. Choosing either is an important decision, but you should understand what they both entail beforehand. Find out their differences and which one would be right for you below.

What is Short-term Fostering?

Short-term fostering includes looking after a child from a single night up to two years. In most cases, the child comes into foster care due to an emergency. They then stay with their foster carer until a foster care agency finalises their long-term care plans.

It is vital to understand that fostering aims to ensure children are reunited with their parents once they can meet the child’s needs. However, this can change in specific situations, and the child might require long-term fostering.

What is Long-Term Fostering?

Long-term fostering entails a child staying with their foster family up to adulthood. While you can look at it from the perspective of how long the child is in care, it often refers to the arrangement. This type of care means the child or young person remains in a specific foster home until they leave care after turning 18.

Ages and Circumstances

Most children in short-term foster care are young children who stay with foster families until the necessary proceedings are complete. They may also be awaiting adoption, waiting to return to their families, or for the agency to complete long-term placement procedures.

Short-term fostering can also be the best solution for teens approaching adulthood who will leave care soon.

Long-term fostering is a more permanent arrangement for children and young people who are unlikely to return to their families. It aims to provide a permanent solution and stability that ensures children in care thrive once they become adults and age out of foster care.

What Type of Foster Care is Right for You?

If you are considering fostering in Birmingham, consider your needs and long-term plans. Consider whether you will be able to provide the love, care, and attention foster children require. If you are new to fostering, you can start with temporary foster care to learn what is required and settle into being a carer. Doing so will also help you understand the commitment it takes to become one. Once you are ready, you can sign up for long-term fostering.

However, you can start with long-term fostering if you know you are ready to open your home to children and teens who need one. Although it is not required because the foster care agency will provide the training you need, having some experience caring for kids can help you be more prepared and understand what to expect beforehand.

Both short-term and long-term foster care are crucial for providing families and homes for children who require them. Your choice will depend on several factors, including your level of commitment and what you are comfortable with. Also, talk to a social worker or other carers to gain a deeper insight into the two options.

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