Skip to main content

Types of foster care


This type of care is usually provided by carers who have gained experience through mainstream care. They will look after a child throughout their time in foster care until age 18. A rigorous matching process takes place, which assesses children’s needs and identifies carers’ abilities to meet those needs. Quite often people who start out as mainstream or Contract carers go on to become long term carers because they’ve established the positive relationship with the child. Currently we have a pressing need for more long term carers.

A Short Stay foster carer looks after a foster child while their regular foster carer takes their annual leave. Usually a child will stay with you between one night and two or three weeks.

As a short stay foster carer you do all the same training and have access to the same network of professional support and financial compensation as any other foster carer but this is a more flexible part-time role.

Short break carers look after children with disabilities for short periods on a regular basis while their parents take some time off. These children are not usually foster children. This is a service we offer to parents of children with disabilities.

As a short break foster carer you do all the same training and have access to the same network of professional support and financial compensation as any other foster carer but this is a more flexible part-time role. In addition specialist training is available to help carers understand the needs of any child they may look after, as well as having a Short Break Linkworker who will work closely with each carer to ensure that good matches are made and that placements are successful.

Ideally, you will have some experience with children with physical and learning disabilities. In your role you will encourage young people to develop new skills and interests. Regular stays with a pattern of visits which is predictable works best. Carers also work in harmony with the child’s birth family so they feel valued and supported.

Family and friends carers are relatives, friends and other people with a prior relationship with somebody else’s child, who are caring for him or her full time.

Legal options

What are the legal options?

There may be times when it will be necessary to seek your own legal advice about the best option for you and the child’s situation.

Support available

We recognise that becoming a temporarily approved foster carer for a relative’s child can be a daunting and at times isolating situation to be in. The Fostering Service have dedicated workers to support family and friends with advice, practical support and opportunities for training to assist in developing an understanding of your child’s or children’s situation and their behaviours.

We have regular training sessions for family and friends carers on attachment, safeguarding and what is required in the role of a foster carer.

Every two months we have support and development sessions for family and friends carers. We meet for two hours and is a great opportunity to meet people in a similar situation to yourselves as well as having short training and information sessions on subjects such as paediatric first aid, life story work, managing contact and so on.

A full range of Fostering training and online learning courses are available to all family carers alongside Local Authority foster carers.

For more information ask your link worker or contact the Fostering Service. You can also download A Practical Guide to Family and Friends Care (PDF, 576KB) .

Financial support

What financial support is available? How is it accessed?

Social work involvement

What is the involvement from us and social workers?

Further information

For more information download our Family and friends care leaflet (PDF, 6MB) .

Related content


Children’s services feedback

Related websites

GOV.UK – Becoming a foster parent

Contact details

Fostering and adoption, Fostering and adoption, New Oxford House, 2 George Street, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HB

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01472 323966

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays