Types of foster care

There are different types of foster care, such as emergency short-term foster care and long-term foster care.

Emergency short-term foster care

In an emergency situation, foster carers will look after children under 18 for up to four weeks. This may be necessary if there are problems which prevent the parents from looking after their child, or if a parent is admitted to hospital.

While the child is in emergency care, the parents and the family supervisor from the Youth Care Office decide what to do next. The child then returns home, goes to another foster family or is placed in a care home.

Day foster care

Day foster care involves a foster family looking after a child for part of the week. This foster care arrangement stops as soon as the home situation is stable again.

School holiday foster care and weekend foster care

Weekend foster care involves a child staying with a foster family for one or more weekends a month. In holiday foster care, the child spends one or more school holidays with a foster family. This form of foster care is for children who cannot stay with family or friends.

The child may also already be staying with another foster family that needs support in the form of weekend or school holiday care. 

Long-term foster care

In long-term foster care, the foster carers take the child into their family until the child is 18. The child will usually not be able to go back home at all, for instance in the event of neglect, a difficult relationship with the parents, incest or other forms of abuse. Long-term foster care may last several months or many years.