Short term foster care

Short term foster care is for children and young people whose care plan is uncertain. The child may be placed with you following removal from the family home due to concerns, or due to the birth parents unavailability due to illness. A child may require a placement following a breakdown in the arrangement with another foster carer or adopter.

Short term placements could last from a few days, a few weeks or sometimes a number of years. The child may return home, move to live with other family members who have been assessed, or move into a long term fostering or adoption placement. Short term fostering can be extremely varied and TACT will ensure you are equipped to manage the challenges and complexities. Training and support will be available.

Many short term placements made with TACT carers move into long term arrangements. This is as a result of the good initial matching process, and the subsequent hard work and commitment of our foster carers.

Long term foster care

Long term foster care is for children and young people who will not be returning to birth family. Long term care requires a commitment from the foster carer to provide care for as long as is needed. This may be up to the age of 18 years, and even beyond under the new staying put arrangement designed to help young people move on to independence when they are ready.

Long term foster care differs from adoption due to the child’s legal care status. In long term foster care the children and young people remain in the care of the Local Authority and fostering regulations apply throughout the time they are living with you. As a long term foster carer you will not be granted parental responsibility for the child you are caring for.

Sometimes a child requires a long term placement and a match is identified at the outset. In other cases, a child may be placed as a short term placement and the care plan then becomes long term. If both the child and the foster carer want the arrangement to become long term this will be considered by the child’s social worker in consultation with TACT.

As a long term foster carer you will get to see the young person in your care flourish into a young adult, the rewards gained from this are multiple. As their foster carer you will build a strong relationship with the young person as you guide them through their childhood and meet the challenges along the way.

Emergency foster care

Many of our short term placements are placed in an emergency. You will not have the opportunity to meet the child or young person beforehand and you have to be ready to accept the child when they arrive. Due to the nature of the emergency, they may be brought to you by a duty social worker or the Police. The child or young person will require additional reassurance and welcome from you.

A great deal of flexibility from our foster carers is required as once you have agreed to a placement they will quickly be placed with you. Emergency fostering usually lasts for a few days while the future plans for the child are made, however it can sometimes lead to a short-term or long-term placement.

Some of our TACT offices also receive referrals for placements outside of office hours and foster carers are asked if they are prepared to take a placement at any time of the day or night.

Children with disabilities foster care

Providing foster care to children and young people with disabilities is something that we specialise in here at TACT. As a disability carer, you’ll be offering specialist care to children with complex needs which can include physical disabilities, medical conditions or learning difficulties. Caring for a child with a disability can be hugely rewarding as you give the child the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Becoming a disability foster carer can seem quite daunting, but don’t worry, we’ll provide you with all the training and guidance to ensure that together we can give the child the support they need to thrive.

Sibling foster care

We know that it is important for siblings to remain together where possible when they need a foster care placement. Children placed in foster care tell us this is what they want. There may be occasions when siblings cannot be all placed together due to concerns of behaviour or risk.

Fostering sibling groups can sometimes be challenging and demanding, but it is also extremely rewarding. We are looking for more foster carers who want to give brothers and sisters a stable family home, particularly those who can care for the larger sibling groups. It is a requirement that only same sex siblings can share bedrooms.

Respite foster care

Respite fostering is when you provide care for a child or young person over a short period of time, usually somewhere in between a weekend to a fortnight. Respite or short break foster care gives families and foster carers a network of support when they most need it.

As a respite carer you will join your local network of carers to support each other with respite care when required. We all know looking after a family and fostering is a demanding role so when things do get tough and you need time away, you can be there to provide that much-needed support.

Parent and child foster care

As a charity, we passionately believe that all children need a loving and safe home and where possible if a child can remain with their parents, we believe this is a positive outcome. Child and parent fostering is where you offer a home to both (or maybe to both parents and the child). The parent may be under 18 and will be a looked after child themselves. Sometimes they will be placed during the pregnancy so you can help them prepare.

There are a number of reasons why a parent may require a placement. They may need additional support, help and advice, and your role will be to teach and support so they can move to independence. Or there may be significant concerns about parenting capacity and assessments are being made about their capacity to provide care to their child. In this situation as a foster carer you will be contributing to the assessments, maintaining clear and concise recordings to provide to the social worker and Court.

Child and parent foster carers are provided with specialist training and require approval by the fostering panel.

Step down foster care

Step down is also known as residential to fostering. Sometimes a child or young person needs the type of environment that only residential children’s homes can provide. However, as they receive support and care to address the behaviours that caused them to be placed in the home, they improve to the point that they are able to be considered ready to live in a family environment and a foster carer is sought.

If you were interested in this type of fostering, there would be opportunities to meet the child or young person and introductions would be set at an acceptable pace for the child to adjust. You would receive additional support in the early stages from the residential unit. There would be a carefully put together care plan so that all professionals and support would be in place.

Step down fostering helps children make the transition back into a family unit which we believe is a much better outcome.

Fees and allowances are enhanced due to the complexities of the placements and additional costs that may be incurred.