Long term fostering can quite literally change young people’s lives. It is, as the name suggests, a long term commitment to caring for children in your home. Long term fostering can provide stability, consistency and familiarity to young people, enabling them to flourish and rebuild their confidence and wellbeing.
Long term fostering is for children and young people who will not be returning to their birth family. Long term care requires a commitment from the foster carer to provide this care for as long as is needed. This may be up to the age of 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and 16 in Scotland. ‘Staying Put’ arrangements can then be made for young people to continue living with their foster carers up until the age of 21.
A long term fostering placement can begin when the child is very young, or it can commence much later during teenage years.
Sometimes a child requires a long term placement and a match is identified at the outset. In other cases, a child may be placed in 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 and the local authority.
As a long term foster carer you will get to see the young person in your care flourish into a young adult. You will build a strong relationship with the young person as you guide them through their childhood and meet any challenges along the way.
Long term fostering differs from adoption due to the child’s legal care status. Adopters will become a young person’s legal parents, with the same rights as if the child was their own. In long term foster care, young people remain in the care of the Local Authority and fostering regulations apply throughout the time they are living with you. Therefore in terms of long term foster care parents’ rights, you will not be granted parental responsibility for the child(ren) you are caring for. However, your level of ‘delegated authority’ – your granted authority to make day-to-day decisions for a young person – will be high.
A staying put arrangement is when a young person over the age of 18 (16 in Scotland) remains with their former foster carers. This is because a young person is no longer classed as being ‘in care’ when they reach these ages.
Whilst it is referred to as Staying Put in England, there are different terms used depending on where you live in the UK. In Wales it is called When I Am Ready and in Scotland it is called Continuing Care. In Northern Ireland, this arrangement is called Going The Extra Mile.
It is classed as an arrangement, rather than a placement, because it is an agreement between foster carer and young person.
Although staying put arrangements are not limited to long term foster placements, it is the stability and familiarity of such a placement type that makes staying put such an attractive and worthwhile option for young people. They are able to establish education, training or employment opportunities without the disruption of moving to independent living at this critical time.
Staying put arrangements last until the young person is 21 years old, or until they chose to end the arrangement.
Long term foster care is a commitment to providing care to young people until they reach independence. As such, foster carers are highly skilled and our fostering allowances reflect this.
The actual long term fostering allowances you receive will vary depending on your local authority, the number of children you are fostering, their age, and whether or not they have additional needs.
There are also payments for children’s birthdays, holidays and religious festivals. Additionally, we also pay long service awards and a Recommend a Friend fee (if you recommend someone who then goes on to be an approved foster carer with us).
Read more about our fees and allowances.
To be able to care for children long term, you will be trained in order to prepare yourself for the different stages of child development.
Training begins during the foster carer assessment stage. This training is called Skills to Foster, and is delivered remotely. Not only does this provide an insight into fostering, it will also give you a chance to meet other fostering applicants as well as a current TACT foster carer.
Once approved, you will allocated an annual training programme to extend your skills further.
Read more about our training.
If you choose to undertake long term fostering you will receive comprehensive support, which includes being allocated your own dedicated Supervising Social Worker. You will also be able to access full 24/7 support should you ever need to.
In addition, you will be able to attend support groups local to you, giving you the chance to meet other foster carers and share experiences.
At TACT, we reinvest surplus income into providing more support, enabling us to go over and above of what is expected of a fostering agency.
Read more about the support we offer.
Long term foster care is one of the most rewarding types of fostering you can do. In many instances, you will be a major part of a young person’s life – watching them grow up into young adults.
You will be the one removing the stabilisers on the bike when they learn to ride. You will be there for the swimming certificates, the dance trophies and the football matches.
Why not make a no obligation enquiry today by completing the enquiry form on this page. Our team of enquiry officers will talk you through the process of becoming a foster carer with TACT. We are a charity, so we place no pressure on anyone to apply. Fostering needs to be the right choice for you and your household.