There will be a task centered plan for this child with specific tasks such as integrating them back into their family within six months. There may be specific work that needs to be done with the child around behavioral issues such as setting firm boundaries.
A young person reaching adult age may be ready to leave foster care and live independently, however some need more support. The supported age has recently been raised to 21, or 25 if there is a disability. This is called a Staying Put Arrangement. You would support them to learn the practical skills they need to be self-sufficient.
This may be for a child with disabilities whose parents are struggling or another foster carer who needs a break, or carer might need an operation and time to recover. Respite fostering is for short periods at a time: a few days or weeks.
A child is never going to be able to live with their family but it is not appropriate for them to be adopted. They may maintain contact with their family and need on-going support with that.
Mother and baby
Some babies in care are there because their mother doesn’t have the parenting skills to look after them. It may be she is very young, was in care herself or her own parents lacked the skills. Both mother and baby live with a foster carer who teaches the mother how to be a parent, whilst keeping an eye on the baby. If you are a mum whose kids have left home you may feel you would like to pass your parenting skills on.
Fostering to Adopt
This route is the only way you can become the permanent parent of a newborn or young baby. The child is placed with you as a foster carer whilst the parents/family are assessed. Whilst it is an amazing opportunity to adopt a young baby, they come up rarely and often have a set of highly complex needs. You also risk bonding with a baby who you may not go on to adopt.
This is part 4 of our 5-part guide to foster caring. To read part 5, Applying to foster: the process, click here
To read the rest of the guide click here
Achieving for Children is a social enterprise company created by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to provide their children's services. To find out more click here
For support on fostering contact New Family Social, the charity for LGBT adoption and fostering: www.newfamilysocial.org.uk