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You can give children a place to live, grow and set them on the path to a better future. Shape their world.
We are particularly looking for people who would like to look after teenagers, children with disabilities, and sibling groups.
By offering your home to a child to live locally, you help them to live nearer to their family and friends, keep attending the same school, and maintain their education and relationships. By caring for a child and giving them a safe, stable and nurturing home - perhaps for the first time - you could give them a future full of hope.
Choose the type of fostering that is right for you and your circumstances:
Short-term fostering is temporary care for children of all ages, from babies to teenagers with differing needs. A short term foster placement can last for a few days, several months, or a couple of years depending on the situation. The care and attention you give the children can help prepare them for their next move, either returning to their birth families or onto a long-term placement.
Long-term fostering provides children and young people with a more permanent home, often for a number of years until they are 18 or 21 years old. Children coming into a long-term fostering placement need a stable, and loving home where they can feel truly settled and integrate into your family. Foster carers will support children to keep in touch with the people and places that are important to them to help them maintain lifelong links and fulfil their potential.
Emergency care involves sharing your home with children who have been removed from their family due to an immediate risk to their safety. These emergencies can be in unsociable hours. Emergency foster carers support children for a brief period until short-term carers are available or until the child can return to their birth family. You’ll need to be able to provide a safe space in an emergency with little notice and be willing to look after children of all ages and needs.
Respite and support care:
Respite and support carers provide crucial support to foster families who may be experiencing difficulties, or who simply need a break and time to rest. Respite carers form part of a support network where a child in care stays with them. Generally, respite care takes place over the weekend and during school holidays.
Parent and child fostering:
These foster carers offer a home to both parent and child. Sometimes, new parents may not have had the right guidance or be in the right situation to safely raise their child. By providing your knowledge and support, you will be helping a family to stay together and develop parenting skills. Your care helps to build the skills required to care for their child. Your input helps to decide whether the parent should be allowed to continue caring for their child or if other arrangements are required.
Foster carers for unaccompanied and asylum seeking children:
Unaccompanied and asylum seeking children who arrive in the UK without their parents or carers usually go into Local Authority care and will often live with approved foster carers. There are many reasons why a child or young person may feel that they are no longer safe in their home country. The child will also have particular emotional, practical, language, and cultural needs that their foster carers will have to consider.
Alongside the day-to-day caring for these children, foster carers will also need to support them through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK, and a potential return to their home country if appropriate. The foster carer will be fully supported by a dedicated social worker experienced in working with unaccompanied and asylum seeking children.
Short breaks foster carers:
Short breaks foster carers will provide planned sleepovers for children who are living with their birth families or in foster care. There are many children with a wide range of conditions that impact their lives. These include sensory disabilities, learning difficulties and mobility problems.
You will provide a child or children with scheduled one to three night breaks every few weeks to enjoy a safe, nurturing and fun environment. If the short break is offered to foster families then it is known as respite care. We will work closely with you to train you, guide you, and match you with a child or children to ensure that we can give the child the care and support they need to thrive.
Supported lodgings carers provide homes for young people aged 18 to 25 who need a guiding hand as they move towards independence.
Kinship foster carers:
Kinship foster care is when a family member, friend or a connected person becomes a child's official foster carer. You must be assessed and approved before the child comes to live with you. There are times when children come to live with you in an emergency and you are 'temporarily approved' as a foster carer until the assessment and approval process is completed. The child is considered 'looked after' by the local authority, which shares parental responsibility with the child's parents.
Private fostering is when a child under 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is living for 28 days or more with someone who is not a close relative. This might be a friend, a great aunt, a cousin or someone else known to the child.
Private fostering arrangements are agreed by the parent and private foster carer and not the local authority.
As a private foster carer, you may be asked to make day-to-day decisions for the child, but you do not have parental responsibility. To keep vulnerable children safe and support families, by law parents and carers must notify their local authority if they have a private fostering arrangement.
Before you apply to foster, think about what might suit your family, and what skills and child care experience you have - you may be able to be part of one of our specialist schemes:
- Overnight short breaks for children with disabilities
- Supported lodgings for young people
- Therapeutic fostering - Herefordshire Intensive Placement Support Service (HIPSS)