Young boy and a carer or foster carer

Types of foster care

We provide several types of fostering to ensure we can support and meet each child and young person’s individual needs. This can range from offering a planned break for a young person to try new experiences, to offering a child a stable and loving family setting for several months or years.  

Short term fostering

When a child needs support for a fixed period of time – whether that’s a few days or weeks and up to two years, they will be placed with a short-term foster family. This is usually temporary until the child can return to their birth family, or a suitable long-term arrangement is made.  

Short term fostering requires people who can work in partnership with birth families and other professionals, and contribute to an assessment of the child or young person’s longer-term needs.  

Find out more about short term fostering

Long term fostering

All children and young people deserve a secure and stable family home. Long term fostering can give a child just that by allowing a child to live with their foster carers until they reach adulthood. This usually happens when a child or young person is unable to return to their birth family and adoption is not possible. 

Find out more about long term fostering

Short or planned break fostering 

Short break foster homes give children and young people a planned short stay away from their birth families or foster carers, where this is assessed as appropriate for the child.  

Short breaks allow children to have new experiences and develop relationships beyond their own home environment. They also allow parents and carers to recharge their batteries and spend time with other children in the family. 

We provide children with planned short term breaks away from their birth families or carers. Short term breaks are an opportunity for children to gain new experiences and develop new bonds outside of their everyday environment. 

Find out more about short break (respite) fostering

Parent and child fostering

Sometimes a parent needs a little extra guidance and support to raise their baby in a safe environment. Parent and child foster carers provide positive, supportive and supervised environment where parents can develop the skills necessary to be positive role models in their child's life, giving both a brighter future together.

Find out more about parent and child fostering.

Emergency fostering

There are times when a child may need an immediate short term foster home due to unforeseen circumstances. Providing emergency care at short notice means children can be placed in a safe environment sooner rather than later. 

Remand fostering  

Remand fostering can be a beneficial alternative to custody for children who are awaiting court proceedings. 

Find out more about remand fostering.

Fostering for adoption/early permanence  

Fostering for adoption is where a child is placed with registered foster carers who have also been approved as adopters. The child lives with them on a fostering basis whilst the child's social worker completes assessments and makes a recommendation to the Court about the child's future care. If the decision is for the child not to return to their birth family, then plans can be made for the child to remain with the foster family and for the family to apply to adopt the child. This type of fostering provides greater stability for the child.  

Children who have been trafficked or sexual exploited

Children and young people who have been trafficked and/or at risk of being exploited, whether within the UK or from abroad, require additional support in their foster home. These children are particularly vulnerable and need to be protected and cared for within a safe home.  

This type of fostering may be of particular interest to experienced foster carers wanting to develop new skills, or those from health, social, education or youth professions.  

Additional training and financial support are provided for this type of fostering, and foster families are fully supported by childcare professionals. 

Supported lodgings

Supported Lodgings homes are a stepping-stone to independence for young people at risk of homelessness, and those leaving the care system. 

Hosts offer emotional support and the chance to learn vital practical skills in a safe place. But they don’t have the same legal responsibilities as a parent or foster parent.  

The young person will have their own dedicated Barnardo’s project worker.  

Find out more about what it takes to become a Supported Lodgings host

By choosing to become a foster carer you can make a huge difference to a child's life - and yours.


  • young boy colours in with family

    Fostering process

    Deciding to foster is a big decision to make. But we’re here to help you every step of the way. Here, we answer some of your most common questions about fostering process.

  • Teenage boy in living room

    Fostering a child

    All kinds of children need loving foster carers, and we have a focus on matching children who may need extra care and support from a foster family.

  • Teenage girl smiling at camera

    Enquire about fostering

    The first step towards joining the Barnardo's family is getting in touch. Complete our online form or find details about alternative contact methods here.