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Types of fostering
There are many different types of fostering, and each foster carer chooses what is right for them and their family.
Fostering can be anything from taking a child into your home for one weekend a month, to looking after them on a full-time basis for a few months, or perhaps permanently.
As a foster carer, you will have the opportunity to care for many different children including under-fives, 5-11 year olds, teenagers, sibling groups and mothers and babies.
There are also more intensive schemes, including the Adolescent Specialist Placement Scheme which provides short-term placements to children and young people aged 12 and over.
Babies and children in this age group have diverse needs and require foster carers who are consistent, fair and loving. You will also be required to work very closely with the child’s parents and facilitate contact between families in your own home.
5-11 year olds
In addition to a general level of care, children in this age group will require support with school. You will recognise the importance of education and actively support and encourage each child to reach their full potential.
Children may have had disruptive experiences and will need your help to make sense of this.
Finding their feet, testing boundaries and seeing how far they can push things is typical to all teenagers. For a young person who has had distressing and unsettling experiences, teenage years can be especially difficult.
Helping them prepare for adult life, grow in self confidence and plan for the future is an important role when looking after teenagers.
Staying together is very important to brothers and sisters who have had many changes in their lives. They need the security and comfort of each other as much as they need you.
Mothers and babies
Some new mothers need additional support and security. Your role would be to teach and encourage them without taking over their responsibilities as mothers.
Adolescent Specialist Placement Scheme (ASPs)
This is a specialist foster care scheme which provides short-term placements for young people aged 12 years plus.
The scheme aims to increase the social skills of these young people and challenge negative behaviour in preparation for returning to family or to a long-term placement.
We are looking for people who can provide a safe and caring family environment which limits the risks that young people can take.
Some of these young people may have had difficult experiences and as a result their behaviour can be challenging. ASPs foster carers will need the resilience to manage negative behaviour and be willing to work as part of a team.
Assessment and remand
This is a scheme which pays a higher fee in recognition that one carer will be at home as this is a full-time job. One or two placements may be made for a period of up to 6-8 weeks. Foster carers actively participate in the assessment and support the young person during this time.
Some foster carers may choose to offer a remand placement. This is also 6-8 weeks and occurs when a young person has been remanded into the care of the local authority by a court. The young person may have conditions attached to the placement. The foster carer received additional training in court issues.
Some children and young people may not be able to return to live with their families. These children need foster carers who can make a permanent commitment and care for them until they are old enough to live independently.
This involves providing a short-break for children with disabilities to ensure their families have a regular break and the children can experience new things.
From a few hours each week to one weekend per month, for planned breaks or in an emergency you can provide welcome support to families.
This service provides emergency placements for children with disabilities as and when required.
Respite and shared care
This service offers weekend placements for children either living with their family of with full-time foster carers, to give them regular breaks.
Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) is looked after by someone who is not a parent or close relative for 28 days or more. Close relatives are step-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters.It's important to inform us.
The Local Authority has a responsibility to check the suitability of private foster carers. This involves carrying out an assessment on them requiring statutory police checks.
The law states that the local Authority must be notified about such arrangements; this is to ensure the child is happy, safe and protected. Failing to notify us is an offence. If you are aware of such a situation, or have concerns, it is imperative that you make a referral.
Many people aren’t aware of this requirement; if you know a child or young person is being privately fostered and you think we are unaware please notify us or support the parent/carer to do so.
Children in private fostering arrangements have the same rights to protection and access to services as any other child living within their family home. By contacting us we can make sure the child’s wishes and feelings are listened to and where appropriate offer advice and support. Without oversight children in Private Fostering arrangements can be some of the most vulnerable children in our community.
If you are aware of a child being privately fostered it is your duty to notify the local authority, please contact:
Telephone: 0345 2000 109
For further information on private fostering visit the North Tyneside Safeguarding Children Board website or the national private fostering website.
“It can be such a hard job at times but it is really rewarding and we absolutely love it. It is just a part of who we are now and it has definitely kept us young.”
- Joan and Keith, 30 years looking after children