Keeping their independence – The positive effects of Long Term Fostering

22 April 2015

What is long term fostering?

Long term fostering provides a child with stability, structure and love. Long term foster care is needed for children who cannot live with their birth parents for the remainder of their childhood. This can be due to a number of reasons; whether it be due to family illness, a breakdown in the family relationship or because the child has suffered from abuse and neglect. Long term fostering can help the child to be part of a family. Foster carers must be willing to provide a commitment to the child without having the legal parental responsibility of that child.

Long term foster care vs adoption

Long term fostering is different to adoption but can still have stability and security and a sense of knowing where they will be living so they can have consistent schooling and make friends more easily. Long term fostering is also positive for a child as they still have a legal connection to their own family. Keeping legal ties gives a child connection to their birth family which many children feel they need, regardless of the circumstances which led to them being in care.

For some children in long term foster care, they may also be pleased that they have been allowed to keep their legal ties to their birth family so that they can keep their surname the same as their families. For others it may be that they want to be able to keep in contact with their birth families, whether that be via email, telephone or face to face. This is important for children as they may not want to give up contact with their birth family.

However, there are many reasons why being adopted could be a better outcome for children in care. If the child comes from an abusive background, it may not be safe for them to have any legal ties with their birth family. Adopting the child means the adoptive parents gain all legal rights and responsibilities for the child and make all decisions about the child’s life. The child may take the adoptive family’s name. (The child doesn’t choose adoption).

Advantages of long term fostering for foster carers

There are advantages of long term fostering for foster carers. The ongoing support long term foster carers get is a huge benefit. Foster carers have access to a supervising social worker at all times who are on hand to answer questions and provide help where needed. As fostering is considered a full time job, long term foster carers receive full training, enabling them to provide better support to their foster child. Long term foster carers also receive a weekly allowance and annual paid respite periods.

Start long term fostering today!

There are hundreds of children all over the UK who need long term foster families. Providing long term foster care for these children can change their lives for the better. If you would like more information on long term fostering or are thinking about becoming a long term foster carer, please contact us today.

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