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What is fostering?

Fostering is a way of providing a safe and secure home for children who cannot live with their own parents. Often, this is on a temporary basis whilst the parents get help to sort out problems. Children often return to their parents after a period of being in foster care, as long as it is clear that the issues that brought them into care have been successfully resolved, and that their parents can look after them safely. Other children stay in foster care on a permanent basis, some are adopted and some move on to live independently.

Why do children need fostering?

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There are many reasons that some children and young people need foster care. They may have experienced abuse or neglect. For others, it might be that their parents may have:

  • a short-term illness
  • mental health issues
  • learning difficulties
  • problems with drug or alcohol misuse

The children range in age from newborn to teenagers, and some are sibling groups. Their backgrounds and experiences can be damaging to a child’s development and lead to difficulties in them trusting people. Like all children, they need to be part of a family where they are nurtured and feel safe. Given time, warmth and support, these children and young people can really develop and reach their potential as individuals.

In Cornwall at the moment we are particularly looking for people who can care for older children as well as sibling groups.

Children’s needs differ when they need foster care.  There are different types of fostering to meet those needs and to give them the best possible care. The different types of foster care are called ‘placements’.

Emergency foster care

This is unplanned and these placements are a result of an unforeseen crisis. They can last for a few days up to a few weeks.

Short term fostering

This tends to last from a few weeks up to about 2 years. These placements are often whilst the Court decides what is best for the child in the long term.

Permanent fostering

This is often best for older children, to give them a safe and secure home until they reach independence and leave the care of the local authority. These placements can last until a young person reaches 21 years of age.

Parent and child fostering

This is where the child and usually one parent are in the placement. This is a specialist role and entails observation, guidance and supervision rather than actively looking after the child.

Short breaks

Short breaks are not necessarily for children who are in the care of the Local Authority. They can be for children with disabilities who live at home and short break carers care for the child to give the parent(s) and child a break. This can be from a few hours per week up to a weekend. Short breaks also allow our carers to have a break.