There is always a need for more foster care providers, but you should get to know your options first if you are interested in fostering. Although most adult citizens/permanent residents (21+) with a spare room can apply to become a foster carer, not all types of foster placements will be suitable for them. Whether you are new or experienced, the information shared next will give you a fair idea of what to expect and what other options you may have.

Short Term Care

Short term foster care may involve several different scenarios but they will all share a single common factor, which is the short timeframe. Generally, short-term fostering only requires that you take care of the child for anything between a few weeks to a few months, but it can sometimes last up to a couple of years. Note that short term fostering is available whether you are a specially trained foster parent, or just a beginner. You will be given short term responsibilities for children that match your experience and training.

Long Term Care

Long term foster care is suited to families who are able to commit to fostering a child or children for a longer period of time. The idea is that a long-term foster parent takes care of the same children from the time the children first enter their home, until the time those same children turn into adults, are adopted, or return as planned to their birth family. Long term foster care provides continuity of care, which is often missing in the lives of foster children. It’s the middle ground between adoption and foster care.

Respite Care

Respite foster care is usually provided by foster care workers in order to provide a child’s main foster carer or parent with a break. It’s a short term responsibility, lasting anything from a night or two to regular planned weekends throughout the year. It can also sometimes be required to support a child with disabilities and/or special needs, so that their long-term foster parents or birth parents can take a break (respite), so additional specialist training will be provided.

Each respite period generally lasts for two to seven days at most and there will be gaps in between assignments. The fostering allowance for respite care will be adequately adjusted to reflect the special needs of each specific assignment.

Remand Care

Remand care is specialised work that takes experience and training that’s specific to the job. The job itself involves taking custodial care of juveniles remanded by the court.

Specialist Therapeutic Care

Highly qualified, skilled, and trained foster parents may apply to become a specialist therapeutic care provider. The skills, qualifications, experience, training, etc., needed for a placement will vary, depending on the child’s needs. This ranges from special and complex needs to challenging behavioural traits.

Emergency Care

Although it may sound like a specialised job, emergency foster care is a surprisingly approachable option for new foster parents. Emergency fostering placements will last for an even shorter period than regular short-term assignments, as the children will seldom be under your care for more than a few nights.

However, you will not be receiving a notice well ahead of time since the children will always be in need of emergency shelter. You must have a spare room ready for use at short notice if you choose to become an emergency foster care provider.