Types of fostering

There are several different types of fostering and the one that’s right for you will depend on your experience and personal circumstances. The following information explains the many options. We’d be happy to talk these through with you. Excellent support, extensive training and generous allowances and fees are available.

Short term and long term 

  • This is the most frequent type of care needed. It involves providing care for a wide range of children including babies, primary age children and teenagers
  • Placements can vary from a few weeks to several years. During this time plans are made for children to return to their family or for permanent care which could be adoption


  • These are planned short breaks for children who may be living at home or with other foster carers. These can help keep families together by helping them to cope.
  • The children who require respite care are often from five years old and some may have special needs
  • We also have a specialist scheme for children with disabilities, called Home and Away which you can read more about further below 


  • This involves caring for a child or siblings for a short period of time in an emergency same day situation. This could be during the night or at weekends and could happen at short notice so carers would need to be flexible 

Parent(s) and child

  • We need more carers who can provide care to babies accompanied by one or both parents
  • The placements are intensive so good communication skills are important as well as the ability to observe and assess parenting skills 
  • These arrangements are typically of 12-16 weeks duration and could include parenting assessments for court proceedings
  • Higher fees are payable to carers with skills to provide these placements, but one carer must be at home full-time

Home and Away 

  • This scheme enables children and young people with disabilities, including children with complex health care needs, to have a regular short break away from home with Home and Away foster carers
  • This is a carefully planned arrangement which is designed to give families a break from the pressures of day-to-day care, and provide new opportunities for the disabled child
  • You can read more about this type of care on the Home and Away webpage

Fostering to adopt 

  • Concurrency planning  for babies and toddlers looked after who are likely to be adopted but there might still be the opportunity to be reunited with their birth family depending upon the outcome of parenting assessments
  • Foster to adopt placements provide stability and security for a baby or toddler at the critical early stage of development – with the possibility that the infant may become their legally adopted child.  If you are an approved adopter and would like to consider a foster to adopt placement please contact Adopt Thames Valley

Supported Lodgings 

  • Providing young people aged 16 to 21 with a form of independent living within a safe, secure family environment 
  • This acts as a stepping stone for young people who have been in foster care and need support to help prepare them for living on their own 
  • You can read more on the supported lodgings webpage 

Unaccompanied asylum seeking young people 

  • We’re working with the Home Office and partner agencies to provide accommodation for young people, typically 14 to 17 year old boys with little or no English, who have entered the UK seeking asylum
  • Young asylum seekers accommodated by the local authority have experienced very difficult times. They need a supportive home to ensure their needs are met and to help them integrate into their local community and British Society

Private fostering 

  • Private fostering is when families make private arrangements with others to care for their children
  • The local authority needs to be notified and is required to undertake checks on these arrangements
  • Please see the Private Fostering webpage for further details 

The following document will provide further information about becoming a foster carer:

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