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Long term versus short term fostering: will this affect my family?

In this blog post, we explain the differences between long term and short term fostering and how each may affect your family.

October 5 2015 - 4 min read

short term v long term fostering

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

Long term fostering tends to be when the long-term care plan is known for the child (who is not returning back to their family) and they will stay in long term fostering until they become adults.

A majority of foster children will start with a short term care plan, and then once they finish going through care proceedings or court hearings it will be decided whether they go back to their birth family or remain in long term foster care.

Learn more about each below...

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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long term foster care

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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How long is a placement before it is classified as long term?

Short term foster placements can include anything from a single night emergency placement, up to 2 years. The legal process is much better than it used to be, and so care proceedings tend to be 25-26 weeks.

Short term placements stay with you in this time until their longer-term plans have been confirmed.

What effect will short term placements have on my family?

Some families prefer not to opt for short term placements because they feel it is disruptive for their birth children, and some prefer shorter-term pieces of work as it leaves them without the commitment to longer-term care. There are many pros and cons for each approach, and each individual carer should choose which option best fits them and their family.

Family life is more flexible with short term fostering as long term the children become part of your family and you can see them progress. Short term means that you are involved in the day-to-day life of that child and are having a big impact on their life, but you aren’t committed to them for years at a time.

Discover other types of fostering placements here.

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