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Long-term fostering

Sometimes, the best solution is for the child to remain with a long term foster care family for several years or up until they are ready to take care of themselves. This is where long term fostering comes in.

What is long term foster care?

Long term fostering and permanent foster care can be used interchangeably. This type of fostering means the child will be placed with a foster family for a long time. Long term foster care is usually required until the child or young person reaches adulthood.

Why might a child be in long term foster care?

A child might be in long term foster care for a few reasons like their age, their needs and requirements. These needs can be from needing to be in regular contact with their birth families to being in a secure and stable environment.

What a child needs from long term fostering

Most children in need will go into emergency foster care or short-term foster care while it’s decided what should happen next.

If a judge states that they cannot return home, a long-term solution like long term foster care is required to provide care throughout their childhood and offer support into adulthood.

When appropriate and possible, younger children are placed for adoption. Older children are suited to long term fostering in a stable, permanent home as part of their family. They will remain with this family for several years or up until they’re ready to take care of themselves. This upbringing aims to help them thrive and give them a bright future.

Children placed long term are very much a part of the foster carer’s family. It’s common for these close relationships – and the loving support they bring – to extend beyond the age of 18.

The role of a long term foster parent

By becoming a long term foster parent, you can expect to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities:

  • Advocate on behalf of the child or young person
  • Support the child or young person’s education
  • Managing their behaviour
  • Assist in the child or young person’s well-being, both physical and mental
  • With the help of our fostering allowance, support the child or young person financially
  • Be responsible for creating a positive environment to support personal and educational growth
  • Set up regular meetings with the child or young person’s birth family

The benefits of long term fostering 

Long term fostering provides children or young people with a stable and secure environment when they need it most. But that’s not all –  there are many more benefits to long term fostering. 

The changelessness of their upbringing allows the child to have a more settled routine, one that causes minimal disruption to both their home life and education.

There are benefits to long term foster care parents too. Having a positive and permanent impact on the child or young person’s present and future, being a long term foster parent is incredibly rewarding as you watch those in your care flourish and grow into the people they’re meant to be.

What you get from long-term fostering

Long term foster care is hugely rewarding for the child and the foster family. Long term fostering is where you can have a huge, lasting impact on the development and outcome of a child’s life.

You will be their long term fostering parent and role model for their future success in life and relationships. We match our long-term carers to children very carefully to give you every chance to succeed in building a strong, effective relationship. More often than not, the child will become a loved member of your family forever.

Our long-term 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.

The majority of foster carers are interested in long term placements. They’re interested in forming a bond, in creating a family experience for the child, of loving the child, of being able to make a real positive impact on their lives. It’s an emotional investment.

Ella, supervising social worker

Experiences of long-term fostering

Vince made the brave decision himself at the age of 14 that he wanted to go into long term foster care because his mum wasn’t coping.

His long term fostering parents, Jennifer and Michael, built strong relationships of trust with him. He eventually started knuckling down at school and followed his dream of joining the Army.

His new self-confidence and growing self-awareness led him to the role he really wanted with the Royal Corps of Signals. Before he left, he said he knew he’d miss his foster parents and that “fostering has been the best thing that ever happened to me”. Read Vince’s touching story in full.

Frequently asked questions

How much is long term fostering allowance?

Once we’ve approved you to provide paid foster care, you will receive long term foster care pay (known as a fostering allowance) in the region of £24,500 a year (around £2,040 on average per month).

For most foster carers, this long term foster care pay will be tax-free and will not affect the benefits you’re currently receiving. See our Tax and Foster Care page to find out more. You will also be eligible for our Bridging Retainer Payments.

How long can you foster a child?

As a long term foster carer, you will care for the child or young person until they become an adult. You can look after a foster child until they reach 18. However, if the child or young person is still in further education, you can care for them for longer.

If you still want the rewarding experience of becoming a foster parent, but don’t have time to provide care long term, you may be interested in short-term foster care.

Is long term fostering permanent?

As a long term foster carer, you will be providing permanent foster care for the child until they reach adulthood. You will be responsible for the child or young person and provide them care until they reach the age of 18, or longer if they stay in further education.

Long term foster care & adoption - what’s the difference?

Although they are both permanent solutions, the difference between long term fostering and adoption is that with foster care, neither of the foster parents will have full legal responsibility for the child or young person.

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