long term fostering

Long-term fostering

Long-term fostering provides a stable family home to a child for many years. Quite often, the bonds last well into their later lives.

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What is long-term fostering?

Long-term foster care involves supporting children who, for whatever reason, can’t return home to live with their birth family. These reasons include abuse and neglect, or the long-term illness or disability of a birth parent.

Long-term fostering provides a loving, stable home to help a child rebuild a normal life and move forward confidently. This lasts for at least 2 years and usually ends when they turn eighteen. However, some young people continue to live with their foster family beyond that age in what’s called a ‘staying put’ arrangement, which helps ease their transition into adulthood.

Many of the children who need long-term fostering also have long-term challenges, including anxiety, stress, lack of trust or behavioural issues. A long-term foster carer can help them work through these issues and take steps towards becoming a happy and confident young person, so long-term foster parents provide far more than just a loving home.

long term fostering pay

Long-term fostering pay

You’ll receive a generous fostering allowance while a child is in your care, designed to recognise your professionalism and commitment. We also offer other benefits, such as allowances for birthdays and religious festivals, as well as two weeks paid respite.

Plus you'll have access to our rewards platform where you can find hundreds of discounts to some of your favourite shops, restaurants and family experiences.

Fostering allowance

long term foster care

Role of long-term foster parents

In many ways, a long-term foster parent is a full-time parent, without the legal responsibility for the child. Their role, as for all foster parents, is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where the child can grow and develop. Other key responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring a continuous educational experience – getting them to school, attending appointments, and working with teachers and educationalists to support their development.
  • Supporting children in day-to-day activities, helping them learn vital life skills.
  • Providing a varied range of positive opportunities, such as sport or social activities.
  • Helping children maintain contact with their birth parents, wherever possible.
  • Keeping records of their achievements to build up a record of their life story.
  • Helping children make sense of their experiences.

Long-term fostering vs adoption

Long-term fostering is similar to adoption in that it provides long-term stability, except that legal responsibility for the child lies with the birth parents or local authority, not the foster parent. This means you’re not able to make and take many decisions about their lives without getting permission from the local authority. This can impact on small things, as well as large. For example, with fostering you'll need to seek permission to take foster children on holiday, and even to the hairdressers.

Are you suited to long-term fostering?

To be a long-term foster parent, you’ll need all the skills and qualities all foster parents need, together with a commitment to building and nurturing relationships over an extended period of time.

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Other types of fostering

Short-term foster care - foster parent with looked after children


Short-term fostering can range from a single night to a few years, depending on the child's and family's needs.

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keeping siblings together in foster care


There's a real shortage of individuals who can provide siblings with a loving home so they can stay together.

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Fostering teenagers


There are many teenagers in care who need unconditional love and support during this critical stage of their life. 

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fostering unaccompanied refugee minors

Asylum-seeking children

There's an increasing number of children arriving in the UK in urgent need of foster care.

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Speak to our team

Whether you’re ready to start your journey or just want to chat to an expert, we're here to talk.

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data.

Ready to start your fostering journey?

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One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.

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We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.

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