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What types of foster care are there?

There are a several different types of fostering arrangements to meet the different needs of all the babies, toddlers, children and young people we look after each year. Each different type of fostering will need people with different skills, abilities and experiences.

Because of the different nature of care our foster carers offer your dedicated social worker will go through this in more detail so you can really decide on the type of fostering that will be best for both you and your family.

"I am always happy to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer. I really enjoy starting the fostering process with prospective carers."

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Parent and child foster care

This is a unique type of placement means you welcome not just a child but also a parent into your home.

It's designed to give a parent - or sometimes both parents a safe place to live while assessments of their parenting are carried out. The foster carer's role is to support the parent and help the social worker assess their skills. This does not involve you caring directly for the baby.

This is one of the most challenging but rewarding placements we offer as you can help keep families together.

Time-limited fostering

This can be anything from a quick overnight stay to a year placement. You could be dealing with some very traumatised children, so it's important you can offer these children plenty of love, support and reassurance.

The aim of this placement is to support the child while important decisions are made about their future before returning them to their own family or moving them to a permanent new family.

Foster carer respite

This is used to support other foster placements by giving the child and their regular foster carer a break. It means you welcome into your home a variety of different children while their regular carer's take a well-earned rest.

Our carers help us provide and essential service for the children we look after so we believe it's essential they take breaks.

Short break foster care

We sometimes offer this to families who have children with disabilities.

This gives parents a regular break from caring, while giving the child an opportunity to meet people and do new things. It also gives families the time to work out any difficult problems without upsetting the child or children in the house.

Intensive fostering

This is provided by experienced professional foster carers who can meet the needs of children with particularly complex needs such as extreme challenging behaviours, mental health issues or multiple disabilities.

It's a challenge and one that we understand can be stressful but it also brings rewards.

Permanent foster care

Quite simply this offers long term care and security to children, often until they reach adulthood. The aim is to treat them as part of your family while recognising their on-going relationship with their birth family.

Connected carers

Connected Person fostering is a legal arrangement where a child who cannot be cared for by their parents, is looked after by a relative, family friend or any other person with a connection to the child in a personal or professional capacity.

When a child is at risk of becoming looked after, or has become looked after, Plymouth City Council is committed to exploring potential Connected Person foster carers before considering children with stranger foster carers.

If a child becomes looked after by a relative or friend, this person becomes the child's connected foster carer and will be looking after the child on our behalf.

Staying put

Staying Put is arrangement to ensure that young people can remain with their former foster carer beyond the age of 18 years.

An eligible child is someone who:

  • is looked after by a local authority;
  • is aged 16 or 17, and;
  • has been looked after for a total of at least 13 weeks since the age of 14

Whenever a young person continues to live with their former foster carer in these circumstances, it is referred to as a Staying Put arrangement. Staying Put arrangements continue until the young person becomes 21, or stops living in the household before then.

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person under 16 years old (or 18 if they have a disability) is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who is not a close relative, guardian or person with parental responsibility. Close relatives include parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

It is not private fostering if the arrangement was made by social services.

People become private foster carers for all sorts of reasons. Private foster carers can be a friend of the child's family, or be someone who is willing to care for the child of a family they do not know.

"We have never had so much fun, laughs or felt so much instant job satisfaction as working in fostering. We have had the experience of a lifetime. It is quite a unique feeling when children start opening up to you, talking of their experiences, trusting you, confiding in you, coming to you for comfort, or relying on you."