Many children and young people across the UK live with their foster parents for a long period of time, this is what we refer to as long term foster care.
This type of arrangement is made when it has been determined that the best possible place for the child is to stay living with their foster family.
Compass do offer long term foster care arrangements; our carers who offer permanence 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.
What is long term fostering?
When a child or young person cannot return home, decisions must be made to find a permanent family for the child. Living with this foster family will usually last until the young person leaves care at 18 years of age. Some young people are not ready to leave foster care at the age of 18 and if agreed can arrange for Staying Put arrangement. Often, foster children remain as part of the carer’s family even when they have moved into independence.
The aim of planning for permanence is to ensure that children have a secure, stable and loving family to support them through childhood and beyond. Long term foster care provides a support system for all social work with children and families, from family care through to adoption.
Often people mix this up with fostering, but there are some key differences between adoption and fostering.
Within long term fostering, often strong emotional attachments are formed. Long term foster care provides children with the opportunity to develop a sense of identity and shape attachments through being part of a long-lasting family. 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.
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 long-term foster care comes from seeing young people mature and develop – through the good times, and the more challenging times! If you think you can make a last difference to a child’s life please get in touch with us.