Types of Foster Placement


  1. Introduction
  2. Types of Fostering
  3. How many Children can I Foster?
  4. Exemptions
  5. What If I want to Adopt my Foster Child or Take Special Guardianship
  6. Specialist Fostering

1. Introduction

There are many different types of placements and some fostering agencies may not offer the full range. If you are considering adopting your foster child please see below.

2. Types of Fostering

Fostering Care:
Foster care offers care for a child/young people, who are unable to live with their families. It is not always clear how long the foster home will be needed. It could be a few days or weeks, months or longer. The placement is temporary while plans are made and carried out. Regular contact with significant people such as birth family is an important part of short-term fostering.

Long-term Fostering or Permanent Fostering:
This is offered to children and young people who are unable to return to their birth families and in need of long term care. More authority will be delegated to foster carers so that foster carers can make the right day to day decisions affecting the child, in keeping with the placement plan. Permanent fostering is considered at the Adoption panel because this is planned as a family for a child for life Long term fostering is considered for children over 8 who already have strong ties to their own parents foster carers will be encouraged to consider special guardianship or adoption to give extra security to the child.

Family and Friend Foster Care:
Carers who are known to the child or young person who is officially looked after by the council. These foster carers have to comply with all the same fostering regulations. We believe that it is usually better for carers to become special guardians to make all the important decisions themselves and be supported under a special guardianship plan.

Respite or Support Foster Care:
This offers extra help to a young person to support the child to continue to live at home or to offer family life to children at boarding school, in childrens homes or in hospital

Family Based Short Breaks Scheme for Disabled Children:
This scheme offers regular overnight or weekend stays with carers who have had specialist training to enable them to offer new experiences to disabled children to have fun and give their parents a break

Bridging to Independence:
Carers prepare the child/young person for moving to semi-independence, working closely with the personal advisor from Independent futures leaving care team, ensuring that young people are working or studying.

Other Placements Offered by the Fostering Service:

Staying Put Arrangements:
These are special arrangements to enable a young person to remain with the carer until the 30th September after their 18th birthday. Staying put arrangements are not subject to the fostering regulations, but the 18 year old will have to have a Police check if there are other foster children in the house.

Supportive Lodgings:
This scheme offers young people aged 16-21 a stepping stone to independence, enabling them to develop new skills. This service is not regulated by the fostering regulations.

Parent and Child Foster Placement:
Parent and child arrangements are offered to young people and their baby to help them to become good parents, where the young parent is a child in need, or a looked after child themselves.The fostering service may also offer a placement to adults with young children, if the adult has serious difficulties or where the baby is a looked after child subject to a legal order. If the placement is for assessment of the parents parenting skills, this will be made clear in the written plan between the parent, the foster carer and the social worker. In each of these situations, the individual written Placement plan will differ to meet the individual special requirements of the child or children. In each arrangement, the fostering service will make it clear to the foster carer whether this is a Looked after arrangement or a Sec 17 arrangement to prevent the child becoming looked after. Please see the section on the parent and child fostering.

Parent and Child 12 Week Assessment Program:
This is a new Consortium scheme for which carers will be specially assessed and approved by fostering panel.

Remand Fostering:
This is a new scheme designed to help young offenders and avoid them being exposed to more serious offenders.

3. How many Children can I Foster?

On approval the fostering service will propose how many children you are approved for, what age, sex and category of approval. There are times, however, when the fostering service may ask you to take a child/young person in an emergency outside your approval range if it is felt this would be way to meet the child’s needs. Permanent changes of approval should be made at a foster carers review, giving foster carers 28 days to decide if the change is right for them.

4. Exemptions

The 'usual fostering limit' is three, so nobody may foster more than three children unless:

  • The foster children are all siblings (then there is no upper limit), or
  • The local authority within whose area the foster carer lives exempts the carer from the usual fostering limit in relation to specific placements.

In considering whether to exempt a person from the usual fostering limit, the local authority must consider:

  • The number of children whom the person proposes to foster.
  • The arrangements which the person proposes for the care and accommodation of the fostered children.
  • The intended and likely relationship between the person and the fostered children.
  • The period of time for which he proposes to foster the children; and
  • Whether the welfare of the fostered children (and any other children who are or will be living in the accommodation) will be safeguarded and protected.

5. What If I want to Adopt my Foster Child or Take Special Guardianship

Adopting a child is very different to fostering. This is about making a forever commitment to the child so this needs to be considered carefully. The most important thing is that there is a Permanence Plan for the child to be adopted and if this is the case and you would like to find out more then speak to your Supervising Social Worker.

If the decision is to proceed, the situation will be reassessed, focusing on the potential of you as a prospective adopter and whether this will be in the long-term interests of the child. Your previous fostering experience will be taken into account and regarded as an asset. You will receive the same preparation and training as prospective adopters.

You might wish to consider Special Guardianship, which gives you more authority but does not complete the legal separation from the child's parents. If the child is over the age of 4 or has special needs, Islington will consider financial support to foster carers who adopt or take special guardianship if this is the best way to meet a child's permanence needs and they are already attached to you. Adopters and special guardians all have Support plans which set out the help available for the child and their new family. The Family plus team and adoption support team will continue to offer you support if you need it until the young person reaches 18. If you live outside the borough this will transfer to your home borough after 3 years although the financial help will still come to Islington.

6. Specialist Fostering

This specialist scheme is designed to offer foster care for young people aged 10-16 who would otherwise be in residential care, where young people have had very difficult experiences, may not be in school, have little routine in their lives and may also be involved in criminal activity. Foster carers on this scheme have previous experience of working with or caring for young people with complex needs and be understanding of the problems they face today and be able to provide stability and support, communicating with the young person to build a positive relationship to bring about long term change.