What is long-term fostering?

If a child has gone into care and is not able to go back to their own family, they will need looking after for the rest of their childhood. Wherever possible we try to find new parents for younger children through the adoption process – for older children and teenagers this is not always appropriate.

One option for older children is sometimes a long-term foster placement. As a long-term foster carer your role would be to provide a home for the child offering the stability, support and guidance all young people need to help them enjoy their childhood and grow into secure and independent adults.

Brighter Futures for Children supports the ‘Staying Put’ initiative which enables young people to remain with their carers after they are 18-years-old so they can remain feeling connected and part of a family.

You will also help the child keep in touch with their own family if they want this.

Long-term placements are carefully planned. Children are matched with carers from a similar background and can meet the child’s own ethnic, religious and cultural needs. Both parties are given time to get to know each other so we can be sure that the placement is successful.

Carers and children often develop lasting relationships and it is not unusual for them to keep in contact with each other long after the child has left care.

Long-term fostering: a case study

Freddie is 12 and first came into care when he was four years old. Freddie’s mum and dad struggled with alcohol which meant they weren’t able to look after him properly. Freddie was often hungry and was not developing at the expected rate of children his age.

There was no other family member able to look after him and the court ruled that he should not return to his birth family. Because of this, we looked for a long-term solution so Freddie could grow up with a family around him. Freddie got carefully matched with long-term foster carers, one of which had the same heritage as Freddie, and both carers had previously looked after other children who had been neglected.

The first few years were tough because Freddie was very behind in his development but both Freddie and his foster carers persevered and they are a loving foster family and Freddie is now thriving at school and with his friends.

Freddie will remain with these foster carers until he is 18 years old and potentially until 25 if a Staying Put agreement is in place.

Could you be a long-term foster carer?

At Brighter Futures for Children, foster carers work towards becoming a long-term foster carer once they have gained experience from shorter foster care placements. If this is something that you would like to consider, please do give us a call and chat to our fostering team about the options. We’re available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0300 131 2797. Or fill in our enquiry form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Enquire about long term fostering