Short term fostering
Short term fostering can be providing a home for a young person for anywhere from a few days to a couple of years. A young person may stay on a short-term basis whilst arrangements are made for their long-term future. This could be moving on to adaption, going back home or to family members or moving onto another Foster carer.
Long term fostering
This is when you care for a young person until they reach the age of 18, however this can be longer if the young person is still in education. Long term for many can be due to not returning home to live with birth family or where adaption is no longer an option. Many carers will also offer staying put fostering once a child reaches 18. This is where the young person will stay on as part of the family despite the carers no longer receiving a wage for this child. Some carers will also support a care leaver with transition to university or to independence and moving into their own place. Most young people come into care on a short term fostering but then move into long term fostering because they are settled with the foster family and enjoy being in a family environment or the courts decide on the young persons plans are to be long term.
Providing respite for a young person who is already with a foster family is a great way to experience children of different ages or individual needs. Respite is to help support our foster carers in having a break to spend time away or to recharge the batteries. Not all our carers take respite but if you care for a child with high level of demanding needs, carers may take up the respite as this allows the carers to take a rest or a need to recharge.
Our carers will take respite to help support other carers in our agency or external respite for Local Authorities. Carers can take respite alongside their own children in placement or in-between placements whilst they are vacant. Respite is also a great start for new approved carers or those with little experience of careering for a child.
By our carers providing respite for each other it allows the child to build relationships with their respite carers as with more often than not the young person may already know the respite carers they are going to and often see it as more of a sleepover or breakaway.
These placements are often needed the same day and you may only get a few hours’ notice before a young person comes to stay. This can be due to a young person being removed from their birth home quickly either by the police or by birth parent wanting the child removed from the birth home or due to a parent becoming ill and going into hospital. Sometimes there are no other family members to help and this is where an emergency carer will be required. Often these placements turn into short term placements and sometimes Long term.
This is a specialist placement where a young person will transition from a residential setting into a family environment. The transition process is a longer time frame than other placements and the carers are involved with the process from day one. Unique support packages are often put together for the carers and for the young person to provide the young person with the best outcomes. For many Residential is the right placement for them but not all. Some young people are simply placed into residential because there were no family placements available at the time.
Unoccupied asylum-seeking children (UASC)
Sanctuary seeking fostering involves caring for a young person, who has arrived in the UK on their own due to either being been separated from their parents or family. They are often escaping war or persecution and more often seeking a safer life. Sometimes they may have been sold by a family member or trafficked for modern slavery or the sex industry. These young people will have travelled a long way and for a long period of time. These young people are often the most vulnerable as they will more than likely not speak any English, will be a very long way from home and much more frightened. They are more likely to have experienced trauma whilst travelling to the UK.
Border agency staff or the police will take each young person and do an age assessment on them as often they do not have proof of age on them and inform the Local authorities.
A foster carer does not have to be of the same religion, ethnicity or speak the same language as the UASC however experience in working with children from other cultures and backgrounds is helpful. Young asylum seekers will need to access legal representation in allowing them to claim for asylum. This can take several months, and a carer will need to help the young person with this and go to any meetings regarding this. Getting the young person into school or college is also supported by the carer which again can take a while.
Carers will also need to help a young asylum seeker feel they belong in the community and be able to live free from discrimination and other abuse. You may also need to help support the young person to transition to semi-independence.