This is the most prevalent type of placement required by our local authority customers. Short term placements are required whilst local authorities assess how best to meet the young person’s needs in the future. On many occasions we are called to work alongside local authority colleagues in order to support young people returning home after work has been done to address the issues that lead to them coming into care. Short term foster carers provide a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family, move into a longer-term fostering placement or an adoptive family is found. This can last for a few weeks or longer.
Many children and young people are placed in emergencies. This is often due to situations of risk where the need for urgent action is required to make a child safe. These placements can last for either a short time or develop into longer periods of a few months, depending on family circumstances.
Long term/permanent placements
When a child or young person cannot return home, decisions have to be made to find a permanent family for the child. These placements will usually last until the young person leaves care at 18 years of age. Often they remain as part of the carer’s family even when they have moved into independence.
Permanence provides children with the opportunity to develop a sense of identity and form attachments through long-lasting family membership. Placement stability is a key factor that can make a difference in a child’s life and improve their chances of achieving positive outcomes through childhood and beyond.
There are all sorts of children for whom permanence is the most appropriate type of fostering: children and adolescents; children with special needs; siblings who need to grow up together – for whatever reason, they all need a permanent family.
A carer offering this type of placement is offering a lifelong commitment to a young person providing them with a safe and loving home whilst they are in care and afterwards until they are ready to leave should that be the plan.
Our carers who offer permanence placements stay in touch with young people they have cared for long after they have left home. Many children return at holiday times, or keep in touch after they have started a family of their own.
The real reward of permanence in foster care comes from seeing young people mature and develop – through the good times, and the more challenging times!
Respite involves children living with their own family or foster carers, but having short stays with another foster family to give their family/main carers a break. At Compass Fostering this usually involves looking after a child or young person who is placed with other Compass Fostering carers for a weekend or one to two weeks.