Children living in different settings
Children living in different settings

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Children living in different settings

3.2 Types of placement in foster care

The Nottinghamshire Pathfinder Trust (2005) describe the following different types of placement in foster care

  • Short-term placements may be chosen for example, when there are relationship difficulties between parents and children or when the principal carers or parents have serious health problems. Placements can vary from an overnight stay to one of several weeks.

  • Support foster care offers short breaks to parents and children when relationships are under significant strain or when parents or other carers need a chance to relax and have some space, in order to maintain safe and effective parenting.

  • Respite care is offered to parents of children who have disabilities to give them a break.

  • Emergency foster care is usually offered when placements are needed at short notice, while professionals assess the situation.

  • Remand fostering applies to children over the age of 10 who might be placed with remand foster carers for a few months, in order to prevent them being in residential care if, for example, they have been involved in criminal activity or child prostitution.

  • Medium-term or bridging placement might be selected when a child cannot return to their family and needs to move to a longer term foster placement or adoptive family.

  • Permanent foster care. There may be good reason not to place a child with adopters, for example when there is frequent contact with the family of origin who cannot care for the child. In this situation children might remain with the same permanent carers for several years or for the remainder of their childhood.

  • Semi-independent supported lodgings/hostel accommodation is offered to young people leaving foster or other forms of care.

Many foster carers offering the types of placement described above are recruited and trained by local authorities or by fostering agencies. Nationally at least 12 per cent of foster carers are friends or relatives of the child (Waterhouse, 1999) rather than strangers. However, in addition an estimated 10,000 children a year are cared for in private fostering situations. A privately fostered child is a child looked after by someone who is not a parent or a family member and who does not have parental responsibility for the child. Private fostering arrangements are made without the intervention of the local authority but the local authority is required to monitor these placements. Private fostering is now governed by regulations such as the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 (England and Wales), which was implemented in July 2005. Private fostering situations are now statutorily monitored via visit and review arrangements, as are all other forms of fostering.

Figure 5
Figure 5 Another move? Who am I going to be living with this time?

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