Examining the Differences Between Short and Long-Term Foster Caring


If you have decided that 2023 is going to be a memorable year, you might be looking for a chance to give back and make a positive difference. Fostering a child is one way you can do this, since you will be providing a child in need with love, support and stability. Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to understand what types of fostering are available. Fostering is just an umbrella term; as it’s not a one-size solution.

Here we’ll take a look at the main differences between short and long-term foster caring, helping you to make the right decision for your lifestyle and abilities.

The Basics of Short-Term Fostering

As its name implies, short-term fostering is meant to be a temporary living situation. In these types of cases, the child can spend up to two years in your care, but it can also be just days, weeks or months. This type of care is needed when a child isn’t able to live at home. At the end of the short-term foster placement, they may not even return to their birth family. Sometimes, this is a solution while a long-term or permanent solution is being finalised.

As a short-term foster parent, one of your main goals will be to help the child prepare for the transition to the next step. That could be a long-term foster family or going home. This means offering them emotional support, guidance, love and understanding. The experience can be incredibly positive and rewarding for both of you.

The Basics of Long-Term Fostering

The main difference between the two types of fostering is the length of time the foster accommodations are meant to last. As mentioned, short-term fostering can last up to two years, but with long-term fostering, it can often mean they are staying with you until they are 18 years old. This is a much bigger commitment in this sense, as you have to be okay with raising the child from a young age until adulthood.

What can be wonderful about long-term fostering is the relationship you build with the child in your care. You can each put down roots and build a strong sense of family and it’s quite common for them to remain part of your family even into their adulthood. If you’re the type that gets attached to others easily, this can also be a better type of fostering since you know they won’t be leaving in a few days, weeks or months.

Familiarise Yourself with the Process

No matter what style of fostering you are eyeing, be sure you understand the steps and requirements involved in how to become a foster parent. This will help the process go smoothly and quickly.

It’s worth noting that there are other types of fostering besides just short and long term so speak to a fostering agency about your options. Fostering a child could be the best decision you make in life.

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