Types of fostering

There are many types of fostering that you could consider.

Short-term fostering
This can last from an overnight stay to two years or more. There may be illness or other problems in the child’s family, or a child may have been harmed in some way. Your goal is to help get the child back to his or her own family as soon as possible or help move the child to a long-term or adoptive family.

Long-term and permanent fostering
Sometimes children will not be able to return to live with their own families. With older children, adoption may not be appropriate as the child is likely to have developed a strong sense of loyalty and belonging to their birth family. Long-term fostering will allow a child to grow up in a safe and supported family environment while retaining the connection with their birth family.

Caring for children with disabilities
We have children who are diagnosed with a wide range of disabilities. You could be working with a child with limited mobility for example or perhaps a child who struggles with learning or engaging with others. A dedicated and supportive carer can really help to significantly improve a child’s life experiences. We offer payments that are in line with the Disability Living Allowance and provide any necessary equipment and respite to fully support carers.

Caring for teenagers
The teenage years are when most young people are finding their feet – often testing out their boundaries and seeing how far they can push things, so caring for teenagers can be very challenging. For a young person who has had stressful and unsettling experiences, the teenage years can be especially difficult – both for them and the people who are caring for them. However, there are also the rewards of helping a young person to develop confidence, prepare for independence and make plans for the future.

You can read more in our ‘Looking After Teenagers’ booklet. In addition, we are looking for specialist foster carers for teenagers who need more help and support.

Specialist Fostering
Tower Hamlets’ specialist fostering scheme is a challenging but hugely rewarding role caring for young people aged 11-17 years. These young people will have had very difficult experiences and may have a history of previously failed foster placements. They will have spent much of their childhood feeling unsafe and uncared for. Some will be out of school, have little routine in their lives and may feel rejected, unhappy or rebellious.
But it is not too late to turn things around. We’re looking for foster carers who can offer heaps of empathy, understanding and patience. Specialist carers will be able to build positive relationships with the young person in their care and help them to see a positive future for themselves. You can read more about the scheme in our ‘Specialist Fostering’ booklet.

Short breaks
Short breaks aim to relieve pressure on families who are parenting children with additional needs (such as children with disabilities) or challenging behaviour. By planning ahead and giving their children regular short breaks with the same foster carer, the families are more able to care for their own children long term. Short breaks are usually for a night or two. Some occur weekly, others monthly, and some just in the school holidays. This form of foster care can suit people who are not in a position to offer full-time care, but are unable to make a regular commitment to a child (or children).

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