Types of Foster Care
Children and young people come into care for a variety of reasons, and we offer a wide range of fostering placements to aim to meet their needs. We will ask you if there is a particular type of care you are interested in providing, and the assessment process will take this into account, so that your approval as a foster carer matches your skills, knowledge and experience.
Short term foster care is for children and young people whose care plan is uncertain. The child may be placed with you following removal from the family home due to concerns about the safety of the child, or perhaps the birth parents are temporarily unavailability due to illness, or a child may require somewhere to live following a breakdown with another foster carer or adopter.
Short term placements are very flexible, and could last from a few days or weeks, or sometimes a number of years. The child may return home to birth family, move to live with other family members who have been assessed, or move into a long term fostering or adoption placement. Short term fostering can be extremely varied, and Amicus will make sure you are equipped to manage any challenges that may arise.
A number of short term placements become long term arrangements. This can happen when there has been a good initial matching process, and the on-going hard work and commitment of the Amicus foster carers.
Long term foster care is for children and young people who will not be returning to birth family. Long term care requires a commitment from the foster carer to provide care for as long as is needed. This may be up to the age of 18 years, and even beyond under the new ‘staying put’ arrangement designed to help young people move on to independence when they are ready.
Unlike adoption, when in long term foster care, the children and young people remain in the care of the Local Authority and fostering regulations apply throughout the time they are living with you. As a long-term foster carer you will not be granted parental responsibility for the child you are caring for.
Sometimes a child requires a long-term placement and a match is identified at the outset. In other cases, a child may be placed as a short-term placement and the care plan then becomes long term. If both the child and the foster carer want the arrangement to become long term this will be considered by the child’s social worker in consultation with Amicus.
As a long-term foster carer you will get to see the young person in your care flourish into a young adult, the rewards gained from this are multiple. As their foster carer you will build a strong relationship with the young person as you guide them through their childhood and meet the challenges along the way.
Complex and additional needs
As a foster carer, you could be offering specialist care to children with complex needs which can include a range of physical and developmental disabilities. Amicus offer a great deal of support to foster carers who offer a home to children with complex needs, and although this requires a huge commitment to time and training, can be a valuable, rewarding and enriching experience.
Amicus have a commitment to offering full and varied life experiences, setting challenges and providing nurture to all young people, of all abilities.
Short Break fostering is when you provide care for a child or young person over a short period of time, usually somewhere in between a weekend to a fortnight. This can be a ‘one off’ or sometimes a regular arrangement. These foster carers become extended family for the child, creating a feeling of safety and opportunities for new experiences. This also provides a break for the main carers.
Often the children and young people see their short break carers as extended members of their birth or foster family.
Parent and Child
Parent and child fostering is where you offer a home to both. The parent may be under 18 and will be a looked after child themselves. Sometimes they will be placed during the pregnancy, so you can help them prepare.
There are a number of reasons why a parent may require a placement. They may need additional support, help and advice, and your role will be to teach and support, so they can move to independence. Or there may be significant concerns about parenting capacity and assessments are being made about their capacity to provide care to their child. In this situation as a foster carer you will be contributing to the assessments, maintaining clear and concise recordings to provide to the social worker and Court.
Parent and child foster carers are provided with specialist training.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
Many asylum-seeking young people have been separated from their families, either in their Homeland or during transit to the UK. As you can imagine, these children are often distressed and frightened as a result of the overwhelming experiences they have been through. Fostering young people who are seeking asylum does have its challenges but is also hugely rewarding as you start to see them settle into their new life in the UK. In some cases, the children will speak little or no English. As a foster carer specialising in asylum seeking fostering, you can help teach these children the skills they need to successfully build a new life and ways to overcome their traumatic past. We will work very close with you and provide specialist training to help you support children who are seeking asylum. We try to place children and young people with families where some of the culture or language may be known about the young person to be placed. However, this is not always possible, and we therefore want foster carers who are resourceful and will be able to help the young person to maintain their cultural needs.