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Types of Foster Placements

The different types of placement that you can be a foster carer for

There are lots of different types of foster placements, from emergency and short-term placements to long-term fostering or even supported lodgings.

Scroll through or click the links below to find out more about each type of placement:

Emergency placements

This type of fostering is unplanned and required at short notice. It is usually required when children have to be placed in foster care for their own safety, or when there is a crisis in their own family and there is no one available to look after them.


Short-term placements

This can mean anything from an overnight stay to several months. Short-term foster carers provide a temporary place for a child until they can return to their family, a longer term foster placement, or they are adopted. Some children remain with their short-term foster carers on a long-term basis, if this is the best decision for them.


Long-term fostering

Most children and young people will start by needing a short period of fostering, which sometimes develops into a long-term placement or even adoption. We need foster carers who may be prepared to take a child on a long-term basis, or until they are ready for independent living. Long-term fostering allows a child to grow up in a safe, secure and supportive environment and to keep in touch with their birth families.


Short break

Also known as 'shared care' or 'respite care', short break fostering is specifically for children and young people with learning needs or physical disabilities. Short-break carers might have a child to stay from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends a month, giving their own family or foster carers a break.


Sibling groups

Wherever possible, siblings should be kept together. At times of separation from their birth family, siblings often take comfort and support from their relationship. Taking more than one foster child into your home may seem a daunting task, however, you will receive all the support you need.



It may surprise you to learn that teenagers do very well in foster care. They need foster carers who listen to them, help them make sense of the world and their role within it. Patience and understanding are crucial qualities for foster carers of this age group, as is the ability to have clear and fair boundaries.

This can be an awkward time for any young person, as they start to discover their identity and find their feet. Because of the experiences they have gone through, many young people need help to improve their self-confidence and self-esteem.


Parent and child

If you are young and feel totally alone, the prospect of becoming a parent can be both confusing and frightening. Some young parents and their children benefit enormously from the support and guidance foster carers provide. We have foster carers who are passionate about giving parents this opportunity. We'd be happy to introduce you to foster carers who have provided parent and child placements.


Additional needs

Some children have additional needs which can be physical, behavioural or educational. They may require specialist care and attention. If you foster these children, you will learn a great deal about the needs of children who require specialised support and also learn about the special qualities you have in yourself.


Supported Lodgings

Supported Lodgings offer a safe place for a young person (aged 16 plus) to live, as a lodger, with support from our Leaving Care Team. The aim of supported lodgings is to give young people the opportunity to achieve full independence.

If you are interested in this type of fostering, please contact Step by Step who provide this type of provision as one of West Berkshire Council's partner agencies.

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