What does fostering mean to you?

Fostering may be a term you’re familiar with. You’re probably all too aware there are children that need care outside of the traditional family environment, and so are taken in by other families who can provide them the love and support they need to be safe, secure and successful. But what does fostering really mean and what does it actually involve? 

General fostering is perhaps the type of fostering people are most familiar with, however it can in itself be divided into different categories – emergency, short-term or long-term. This is a full-time fostering scheme for children from birth to 18 years. 

Emergency foster care, as the name suggests, is about providing a home to a child at short notice, so carers need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of day or night and have them stay for a few days.

Short-term foster care can be planned, but could also be with very short notice, and provides a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer-term arrangement can be made. 

Long-term or permanent fostering allows children and young people to stay with a family until they reach adulthood if they cannot return to live with their birth family. This follows a matching process, including introductions, so the child and the foster family can get to know each other gradually before the child moves in. This type of fostering can suit carers and their families where they prefer to have longer-term arrangements, and fewer changes of foster placements. It provides stability to that child or young person and enables them to develop a sense of belonging. 

Home from home is a part-time fostering scheme that provides respite care, giving parents or carers a break from caring from their child on a full time basis, and is in a family setting. The child will be matched with a family and will stay with the same carers each time. 

Remand foster care provides a young person a home when they have been remanded into the community (rather than custody) and have to live away from their family while their case is resolved in court. It can be for anything from a few nights to a few months, depending on how long the process takes, and often at short notice. 

With an increased awareness of what fostering means and what it involves, what could you do to support children in Slough who are in need of somewhere to call home? Could you become a foster carer?

To find out more, get in touch with the fostering team at Slough Children’s Services Trust, by calling 0800 073 0291, emailing, or by visiting the Trust website.


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