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

Short-term fostering

Short-term foster care provides children with a safe home environment on a temporary basis when they're not able to stay at home.

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What is short-term foster care?

Short-term fostering is a temporary type of foster care, allowing children to experience the safety and stability of a family setting when they’re unable to remain at home.

Short-term placements are the most common type in the UK, so there will always be a need for short-term foster carers to look after and support children during difficult times of transition. It’s perfect for people who enjoy creating strong bonds with many different types of children and playing a part in transforming the lives of them all.

How long is short-term foster care?

Temporary fostering can last anywhere between 1 night and 2 years, but even though your time with the child might be temporary, the impact you have can last forever.

While the young person is in your care, we’ll all be working towards a long-term solution that usually involves getting the child back with their birth family. Depending on the reason why the child is in care, the length of time this can take varies, and in some cases, we see short-term placements turn into long-term foster care.

In every instance though, the final decision will always be what’s best for the child and your family.

Why do children and young people need short-term foster care?

There are a wide number of reasons why children need to be placed into temporary foster homes.

  • The sudden illness or passing of a parent.
  • The child is considered ‘at-risk’ so they need to live elsewhere while care plans are put in place.
  • The child is awaiting adoption or the development of a longer-term plan for their care.
  • There has been a family crisis leaving the parents unable to look after their children.

Sometimes a short-term foster carer is needed because a child or young person is awaiting court proceedings or is approaching the age of 18 and about to step into independent adult life. Whatever the reason is though, one thing remains the same – they all need security and a loving family environment.

Short term foster care

Short-term foster parent responsibilities

As with any type of fostering, the responsibility of a short-term foster parent is to provide a secure, stable environment for a child who’s likely feeling anything but secure and stable.

It means supporting and nurturing them through a difficult time and making sure they get to school and have a range of positive life experiences. It also involves helping them maintain contact – where possible – with their birth family. If the child is due for adoption, you’ll also help support this process, including facilitating visits with the adoptive family.

short term fostering pay

Short-term fostering pay

At Orange Grove, we like to give all our foster parents a generous foster allowance that’s designed to recognise your professionalism and commitment to transforming children’s lives. 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.  

The work you do is so important, so it’s only right our short-term foster care pay reflects that.

Fostering allowance

How to become a short term foster parent

To be a short-term foster parent, you’ll need all the skills and qualities all carers need, together with the ability to form quick and effective bonds with a wide range of children and young people.

Does this sound like you?

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Will I have to liaise with the birth family?

With short-term foster placements, the end goal is nearly always to get the child back with their birth family. This means you may have frequent contact with or facilitate meetings between the birth parents and your foster child.

What support do short-term foster parents get?

Here at Orange Grove, we believe in relationships and partnerships, and our extensive support package shows that. You’ll have a dedicated social worker and family support worker, alongside access to therapists and education specialists at your fingertips. As well as this, we give generous financial allowances and provide excellent on-going training to help you become the best foster parent you can be.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of short-term foster care?

Short-term fostering is a truly rewarding job. You get to meet different children from different walks of life and impart your knowledge to make a difference. Whether it’s weekly fostering or you look after a child for a couple of years, the bonds you create are incredible. The only disadvantage is that you’ll likely have to say goodbye and part ways with your foster children at some point in time, but there are times when it’s decided the child is best placed to stay in their short-term foster home for longer.

What’s the difference between long-term and short-term fostering?

Short-term foster care is a temporary solution while the child's longer-term care plan is being developed. It can last a couple of nights or a couple of years. Long-term foster care is where a child stays with you on a permanent basis until they reach 18, finish further education or are ready to live independently. Many children come to us on a short-term basis, but many also move into long-term placements if they settle well with their foster family and everyone agrees it’s the right thing to do.

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Other types of foster care

long term fostering


Long-term fostering provides children with the stability of a single foster family right through to adulthood.

Find out more

emergency foster care


This type of fostering provides care to a vulnerable child in an emergency, such as domestic violence.

Find out more

respite foster care


Respite carers provide foster parents with a chance to rest, while they take care of the children for a night or two.

Find out more

Parent and child fostering

Parent & child

Foster parents provide a home to a young expectant mum or a vulnerable parent and their young child.

Find out more

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.

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