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Difference between short and long term fostering

Looking to foster? Knowing the difference between short term and long term fostering is important before making your decision to foster. Find out the differences and which type of foster care is right for you today.

What is short term fostering?

Short term placements can include anything from a single night for an emergency placement up to a two-year placement. The child in care could stay with you while their legal care proceedings are finalised, which can take a few months or more. Here, the child’s long term plans will be confirmed – the decision of whether they can return to their birth family or whether they will move on to a long term fostering solution or adoption is often being made in these circumstances.

Most foster children are likely to start out on a short term foster care plan, which is also known as temporary fostering. Short term foster care is more common with young children – and is mostly to support the child in care while care proceedings or care hearings are happening to determine the young person’s future.

What is long term fostering?

When long term foster care is referred to, it’s not purely based on the length of time the child is in care for – it instead refers to the type of care plan the young person is on. Long term foster placements mean the child should remain in a specific fostering placement (in most cases) until reaching adulthood and leaving care.

This type of foster care is also known as permanent fostering – as it provides a more permanent consistency to young people who are unlikely to return to their families. Once reaching adulthood, they are out of the care system and able to care for themselves. For more information on this, read our What Is A Care Leaver? guide.

Which type of foster care is right for me?

Whichever type of foster care you choose, it will undoubtedly have a hugely positive impact on a young person’s life – and can be extremely rewarding. Short or long term fostering can fulfil the lives of foster carers whilst often being challenging; at Capstone you are given lots of support and training whether you become a short term or long term foster carer to help prepare you and along your journey of being a foster carer.

Foster carers often prefer short term fostering as it allows them to make a difference to multiple lives. It can be difficult when children and young people leave but short term fostering is extremely rewarding; knowing you have had an impact on so many people.

Long term foster carers set out to create a permanent home for a young person that will often be in their care for years. There is currently a national shortage for long term foster carers– so people interested in long term foster care are urged to come forward to help change a young person’s future.

Interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer? Get in touch with our helpful team – one of our foster care experts will be in touch to provide you with help and advice.

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