Foster Care Placement Types

Parent and child foster care support

Parent and Child

In some cases, new parents might need help in developing their parenting skills. Parent and child placements are a type of specialist placement, in which foster carers offer a home to both a parent (or both parents) and their child, usually for around a few months, to provide guidance and allow them to learn how to provide care for their child. 

Parents involved in this type of placement are often young, and in some cases may be under the age of 18, or they may be pregnant with the child when they are enter the placement. Foster carers in this instance have a large and unique responsibility, therefore specialist training for the role is required.

Unhappy boy needing foster care

Short-term Foster Care

Short-term placements are where a child arrives into a temporary placement, often for a few days or weeks (in some cases longer), while other arrangements can be made for them. This is usually because their current home is deemed unsafe for a variety of reasons, and a temporary home is needed for them before they can be moved to a longer-term placement.

Special needs foster carer

Disabilities and Special Needs

If you are patient, committed, and open-minded, then you might have what it takes to look after a child who is disabled or who has special needs. 

This type of placement deals with children with autism, learning difficulties, physical disabilities, or other types of complex needs. These children require specialist care, so foster carers interested in this type of placement will have to undergo specific training to equip you with the appropriate skills. 

‘Each and every placement is vital’

Short-tern foster care of babies and very young children

Bridging Foster Care

Bridging placements are a type of short-term foster care which involve temporarily caring for babies or very young children until more permanent arrangements can be made. They may be moving on to adoption, or long-term care elsewhere. 

Either way, these roles are crucial to ensure the temporary safety of such a young child. Although it is a type of short-term placement, bridging placements can last up to a few months or longer, and play a big role in the child’s wellbeing.

Unhappy child needing emergency foster care

Emergency Foster Care

This is a special type of placement in which a child needs to be placed into care with very short notice, often under 24 hours. No prior planning or introductions take place, and often the placement is very short-term, only lasting until a more suitable placement can be found. 

This might be because the child’s home environment is urgently deemed unsafe, or due to unexpected health problems or the death of their current carers. Emergency foster care ensures the child in question is temporarily safe and secure, until further arrangements for them can be made.

Asylum seeking child needing foster care

Asylum Seeking Children

This type of placement involves caring for a child who is seeking asylum in the UK, and has been separated from their birth family. Often this means the children might have had a particularly turbulent recent past, resulting in high emotional instability. 

As a result, carers looking after unaccompanied children in this situation will need specialist training for the role, and the ability to work with children who may primarily speak another language or who may have significant cultural differences is crucial.

Single child foster care

Solo Foster Care

In a solo placement, the foster child in question must be the only individual being cared for in the household. I.e. other children are not present, such as birth children or other foster children. 

This type of placement is catered towards young people in care with more complex or tasking needs, who therefore require more attention from their carers than the average placement. This might be because the child has come from a background of significant trauma or abuse, or the child has exhibited particularly challenging emotional, behavioural or physical difficulties. 

Happy siblings in foster care

Fostering Siblings

This type of placement involves taking siblings into care in one placement. Agencies do everything they can to keep siblings together where appropriate, so this type of care is in particularly high demand. Same sex siblings can share a room, but brothers and sisters require separate rooms. 

Carers in this role will receive special training to deal with a sibling dynamic, and should be confident in taking on more than one child at a time. Siblings often benefit greatly from being kept together having come from difficult backgrounds, so providing them with a safe environment while keeping them together is really valuable. 

Long-term foster care

Long-term Foster Care

Long-term foster care placements involve the child staying with their foster carer(s) for up to several years, often until the foster child is old enough to care for themselves. This might be a result of their old home being deemed permanently unsafe or unsuitable for their care, and adoption also being considered not appropriate. 

This is often the case with older children, who require support and guidance through their final years of childhood into adulthood. Often in this instance foster parents maintain a relationship with their foster child long after the placement has finished.

If you would like an informal chat about becoming a foster carer, call Fostering UK in confidence on:

0333 044 8890

Or send us a message 

“I don’t know what would have happened if my sister wasn’t with me. I’m so grateful to my foster parents”

Marcus (11), Barnet

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