Bridging is a type of short-term foster care. It is used to describe the type of foster care that occurs when babies or very young children need a temporary home before moving on to somewhere more permanent.
What a child needs from bridging foster care.
There are many reasons why a baby or child is put up for adoption or into long-term foster care. The birth parents may not feel able to give the child home, for example, or a judge might decide it’s in the child’s best interests not to return to their birth family. Foster parents will look after the child until suitable adoptive parents or long-term foster parents are found.
While this is a temporary foster care arrangement, it can last several months or even years. During this time, they need a caring environment where they be safe and thrive. Some have additional care requirements because of developmental or attachment issues, or serious medical problems like addiction withdrawal.
Young babies need to stay in the room of caregivers at least until the age of six months; a child over the age of two will need their own bedroom. At this young age, children are learning at a very fast rate – socialisation, language, movement and everything in between – and will require the types of constant stimulation you’d expect.
When suitable adopted parents or long-term foster parents have been found, the foster child will need help from their foster carer to make the transition into another family unit and build the foundations of a new, strong relationship.
What you get from bridging fostering
This relatively short-term stay might still go on for several months or even a couple of years. There is always the understanding that the child is moving onwards to a new family.
Still, the babies and children build such strong, affectionate relationships with their bridging foster carers that it can be quite emotional to let them go. Feeling grief as a foster child moves onto a long-term foster care family or adoption, is normal. You will bounce back – it really is a wonderful feeling to be able to make a permanent difference to the lives of children in this way.
Our bridging foster carers don’t do this alone: National Fostering Group provides excellent support and training. You have a dedicated Supervising Social Worker who is backed by an experienced local team, access to 24/7 advice and excellent training delivered in your area.
If you think this type of fostering would suit you, please enquire now.
Experiences of bridging fostering
Kevin stayed with the same foster parents for more than two years while adoptive parents were sought for him. His foster parents did not know how long this search would take, so they threw themselves into doing everything they could for the little boy.
His behaviour was initially challenging. They instilled routine into his life, built strong attached relationships with him, and persevered. It was very rewarding when they started to see real changes in him.
When adoptive parents were found for Kevin, they spent time with them explaining what Kevin’s medical needs were; specialists believed he was suffering from foetal alcohol syndrome and had ADHD and dyspraxia. They also played an essential role in helping Kevin begin to trust and form relationships with his new parents. Read Kevin’s full story.
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