Short term foster care is providing temporary care for a child or young person who cannot live with their own family. The placement can last from a few days to weeks, months and as long as a year. An appropriate assessment of their needs determines if the child or children can return to their own family or to long term foster care. Regular contact and access with significant people such as the birth family is an important part of short term fostering.
Long term foster care is when it has be determined that a child or young person is unlikely to return to live with their own family and will live with foster carers for a longer period of time, normally until they are 18 years of age or older if they are supporting them through education.
Respite foster care is provided to children and young people in a planned way to and at regular periods, for instance every second weekend. Respite foster care can provide support to birth families and other foster carers too. At times, respite foster care can be offered to a child or young person when they are struggling in their placement or at home and a break away may be needed to allow some time and space for all involved.
Emergency foster care is provided for a time limited period for a child or young person in emergencies, these placements can happen outside of office hours. Experienced foster carers would provide this form of care having a history of either respite care or long term care.