Different types of fostering
There are many different types of fostering you can choose to specialise in, each bringing different challenges and rewards. Once you've made the important decision to foster, you need to think about the kind of fostering that's right for you, your family and your circumstances. We'll help you do this during our assessment process.
All children who come into foster care are different and with different circumstances - some need placing in an emergency, for respite, or for a short time, while others need a long term placement.
We urgently need more foster carers to look after Kirklees children, especially those who can care for brothers and sisters, older children and teenagers.
Short term fostering
Short term fostering placements can last anything from a few months to over two years. Children and young people in short term placements need support until they return to their families or move to longer term planned placements, including adoption.
In short term fostering, a foster carer is relied upon to provide a safe, secure place to live while a child carries on their day to day life, continuing to attend their own school and see their friends and family wherever possible. Children often have regular contact with their birth families and a key responsibility of foster carers is to support this contact for their fostered child.
Children who need this short term care are across the age range, from babies up to teens.
Long term fostering
Long term placements can have massive benefits for the child, keeping them closer to their friends, and allows a child or young person to maintain contact with their birth family if it is felt to be in their best interest. This may only be limited contact, but it maintains a link with the child's parents which may be important to them or to their development.
Children who need long term foster families tend to be school-aged upwards. Unfortunately the older the child, the more difficult it is to find them a permanent home. For sibling groups and children with physical, learning or behavioral issues, their chances are further diminished.
Sometimes, we are unable to find local, long term foster families for children. This means children have to face the added upheaval of being moved around, possibly away from their family, school and friends. Experience has shown us that children who are moved out of their local area may find it harder to build new friendships and long-standing relationships.
Long-term fostering allows a child to grow up in a safe, secure environment, until they're young adults and ready to live independently.
Brothers and sisters
It's really important, where possible, for brothers and sisters to stay together and be placed in the same fostering household when they come into care. For many foster children, the relationship with their brothers and sisters is what they value most.
Our aim is always to place siblings together and we work really hard to find foster carers who can offer a home where the children can be kept together. Sadly, this isn't always possible and we need more foster families who have the time and room to care for brothers and sisters.
If children are split up when they go into foster care, this can be the most painful aspect of them being placed in care. No two situations are ever the same and siblings can come into foster care at different times. When this happens, the likelihood is that they will remain separated for the rest of their childhood. This can create a real feeling of loss, so where possible, it is always desirable that contact be kept up between siblings.
Foster carers play an important role in facilitating regular contact between siblings.
Older children and teenagers
Many people have pre-conceived ideas about what fostering older children and teenagers is like, some think they might be difficult to control or that they'll be too much trouble. It's true that most of the children in care have had various problems, but that's not the same thing as being badly behaved. Some have been the victim of neglect and abuse and others have had to go into care because a parent has died or has had to go into hospital.
Fostering teenagers isn't without its challenges. Unsurprisingly, they tend to want to make sense of what's happened to them which often means foster carers end up being a sounding board for their frustrations. Some struggle to get used to having boundaries, because they've never had this before.
There are many positives to fostering teenagers, our foster carers tell us that if you invest time in these young people, listen to them, support and encourage them, in time you can build good relationships and really help them turn their lives around.