Short Term fostering

Sometimes, short term foster care is required in the interim before children can be moved to a longer-term family. Foster carers like you can help by giving children the care and attention they need as they settle into their temporary home and prepare for their next move.

What is short term foster care?

When a child or young person needs a place to stay and be taken care of until they can return to their family, be placed under permanent foster care or found adoptive parents, they will be placed in short term foster care. This is also known as temporary fostering. Short term foster care is ideal for those who have other commitments and may need to take a break from fostering.

What children need from short term foster care

Babies, children and young people arrive in short term foster care for various reasons. They might be at risk from harm, or their parents might have health or addiction problems. Or it could be unavailable parents who are unable to look after them.

This short term fostering arrangement ensures they are in a safe environment while discussions take place about their future. The outcome is usually either for the children to return to their families or be placed with long-term foster carers or adopters.

During their stay with you – which could be two days to two years – they will probably experience a range of emotions and reactions to their situation. They will need to feel welcomed into a safe and secure environment.

In cases where a judge decides a child is to be adopted or reunified with the parents, they will need to make a transition into this new situation with help from their foster carer.

What you get from short term fostering

Short term fostering can be rewarding, as carers play a major role in helping lots of children through difficult times. It is the most common type of carer, particularly for newly approved carers.

Children sometimes start as a short term foster placement and stay for months or years with the same foster family; it’s completely up to you what type of foster carer you want to be.

You might be expected to liaise with professionals, birth parents and adoptive parents to make sure the child can process and adjust to the changes in their lives.

Our short 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.

Experiences of short term fostering

When foster carer Carol first met little Ryan, a boy with Down’s and other issues, she didn’t think she’d be able to meet all his needs. What began as temporary foster care swiftly changed pace when she fell in love with him at the first meeting.

The judge had ruled that it wasn’t in Ryan’s best interests to go back to his birth family, so the plan was that the local authority would find him a long-term home.

However, when he experienced a serious illness, Carol knew that she wanted him as a permanent member of the family. This short term stay ended in adoption! Read the full version of Ryan and Carol’s short term fostering story.

Types of short term fostering

Short term fostering is a type of foster care that involves taking care of a child or young person temporarily until they move to somewhere else more long-term like adoptive parents, or back to their original family. The different circumstances that a child or young person might require short term foster care could be:

  • Remand fostering – where a child or young person is undergoing court proceedings
  • Family breakdown like a parental illness or divorce/separation
  • Child abuse like neglect, physical and mental harm or other child abuse issues
  • The child or young person has been placed in foster care but is awaiting a permanent home
  • Undergoing assessment, where the child or young person is put under assessment by a social worker in order to determine a care solution for the child or young person

Frequently asked questions

How long is short term foster care?

Short term foster care is as long as it needs to be before a child or young person returns to their own family or they are found a more long term care solution like long term foster care or adoptive parents. This interim period of short term foster care could be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months, for example.

How to become a short term foster parent

To become a short term foster parent you need to be a minimum of 21 years old and have a furnished spare room that no one uses. There are no other requirements other than being dedicated and committed to looking for a foster child. If you are single, married or part of a couple, there is no preference for a foster parent, so long as there is someone always available to meet the needs of the children in your care, particularly if you hold down an existing job too.

Can you foster just at weekends?

You can foster for as little as a weekend or up to several weeks. This is known as respite care and the purpose of it is to provide short term foster care to a child or young person while their usual foster carer takes a break or holiday.

Do you get paid for short term fostering?

It’s important not to have money worries so you can care for the children in the way you’d like to and also look after your own well-being. You will be paid a generous fostering allowance for each foster child and you probably won’t pay any tax on your fostering allowance. To find out more about short term foster care pay, see our Foster care pay and allowances page.

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