What is Short-Term Fostering?

Short term fostering is when a child or young person lives with a foster carer temporarily, while more permanent plans are made for their future. Though a child may only be with their foster carer for a short period, the positive impacts of foster care can be life-long.

What is Short Term Foster Care?

Short term fostering is one of the most common types of fostering available in the UK, with thousands of children in need of short-term foster care every year.

Short-term foster care provides children and young people with a stable, safe, and supportive home when they are unable to live with their birth family.  This type of fostering is often only temporary, while arrangements for their future are being made.

Securing A Better Future

There is much to consider when figuring out the kind of support a child or young person needs to have a successful future. During a short-term fostering arrangement, lots of people (including the child’s family, the Local Authority, and various professionals) work together to find a long-term solution.

The aim of short-term fostering is to eventually return the child or young person to their birth family, with the right kind of support. However, this isn’t always possible. If a foster child is unable to return to their foster family, they might need to move into a different type of foster care arrangement – like long-term fostering.

At Compass, we’re proud to place our children at the centre of our decision making. We work hard to make sure that every decision we make respects the needs, wishes and wellbeing of our children and young people – providing them with everything they need to secure a better future.

A picture of two men caring for a young baby, smiling.

Why Do Children Need Short Term Fostering?

Children and young people often come into foster care because they are unable to live with their birth family. In 2022, there were over 404,310 children living away from home in the UK.

There are many reasons why a child or young person may be unable to live with their family. These include signs of abuse or neglect, family illness, family dysfunction, or circumstances within which the home environment is considered unsafe or unsuitable.

Fortunately, short-term fostering provides children and young people with a safe home to live in while any issues are sorted out, or more permanent arrangements can be made.

How Long is Short Term Foster Care?

Most children and young people come into foster care on a short-term fostering plan. How long they stay in foster care depends on their individual circumstances and the circumstances of their family. It also depends on the type of arrangements that need to be made for the child or young person’s future, and how long it takes to put these arrangements in place.

Some foster children may only need to stay with their foster carer for a single night, or a few days. Other foster children may stay in short term foster care for a longer period, from a few weeks to a few months, to a few years.

A female foster carer laughing and embracing her foster child.

Benefits of Short-Term Fostering

At Compass, many of our foster carers offer short term fostering. Caring for children and young people in short-term fostering arrangements can be challenging at times, but it also comes with many benefits – for both the foster child and their foster carer.

Over 34% of our foster carers said they chose fostering because they cared about children and wanted to help them. As a foster carer, you have the unique opportunity to make a real difference to a young person’s life.

This is because short-term fostering provides children and young people with vital support during what might be an immensely challenging time in their lives. Foster carers help them feel safe, stable, and secure, guiding them in understanding their emotions and providing some much-needed comfort when the going gets tough.

Short-Term Fostering Allowances

At Compass, we pay all our foster carers a generous fostering allowance that recognises and values their unique skillset. How much you’ll receive as a foster carer depends on the type of fostering you can offer.

We recognise that looking after a child or young person comes with various financial complications, which is why our fostering payments are comprised of a professional fee, and a daily living allowance for your foster child.

Find out more about our fostering allowances here.

Two foster carers help their foster child with her homework.

Start Making a Difference Today

If you’re considering becoming a foster carer, know that, at Compass, we’ll be with you every step of the way on your fostering journey. From the first time you contact us, to the moment you meet your first foster child – we’re here to support you.

You can become a foster carer with our 24/7 support, generous allowances, and high-quality training. Take a look at or list of 8 questions to ask yourself before becoming a foster carer, or get in touch with us to find out more about fostering with Compass.


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