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Types of fostering

There are many different types of foster care. Our children are all individual, as is the care they need.

Care for teenagers aged 11+

We urgently need carers for teenagers in Suffolk. Over half of the children in our care are 11 and over.

Welcoming a young teenager into your home means becoming their role model and guide. You will help them navigate their teenage years through to their independence.

Sometimes teenagers need care for a shorter duration in an emergency.

Quotes from foster carers for teenagers

“TEENAGERS! The humour, the fun, grown up excursions to theme parks with no height restrictions! Watching with pride while they perform for the first time in their rock band. Spending time with their teenage friends, including them in the home life and getting to see the 'other side' of our teenagers with peers. Enjoy sharing the home and family with incredible young people who survived! Love it!”

– Teenage carer, Karen

“You are told that you must expect children in care to have extreme emotions. Yes, they do, but we must remember all teenagers need the space to grow and make mistakes.”

– Teenage carer, Melissa

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Staying Put scheme

Suffolk’s Staying Put scheme supports carers to care for their fostered child beyond the age of 18.

The scheme offers support to carers through further education and training. This helps smooth the transition towards full independence.

Read our Staying Put Policy (PDF, 381KB).

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Short term care

You can care for a child while their future living arrangements are planned. This can range from a few days to several months or years.

A child in short term care needs an understanding and loving environment to support them through this period of uncertainty.

Foster placements often begin as short term.

After short term care, you will either:

  • support a child as they prepare to return to their birth family or move to a new foster or adoptive family
  • decide that you are able to offer permanent foster care yourself

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Permanent care

You can foster children who are unable to return to their birth family.

A permanent foster carer can offer a consistent, reliable and loving family environment that the child knows they can depend upon.

Permanent care can continue through to adulthood. Many children who have been permanently fostered remain a part of their carer’s family for life.

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Suffolk's therapeutic fostering

If you care for a child or young person with challenging behaviour, we have a therapeutic fostering team to support you.

Children and young people in care's challenging behaviours are usually caused by past neglect and trauma.

The team has a wide range of offers aimed at helping foster carers understand and meet the needs of vulnerable children.

You are not on your own on this journey. Take a look what Suffolk's therapeutic fostering service offers.

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Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) carers

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) states that children under the age of 18 are unable to stay in police custody overnight if they have been arrested.

These children need support from foster carers to:

  • collect them from police custody
  • take responsibility for their care overnight
  • transport them in the morning to the necessary court, social care office or police station

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Short break/respite care

A short break carer provides respite to other carers for holiday periods and/or weekends. Alternatively, you and your children can have respite for holiday periods and/or weekends provided by a short break carer.

To be a short break carer, you would often need to be available for a week or two at a time. This is particularly important during school holidays, alongside regular weekends.

Short break care is often for older children and those with more complex needs.

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Link care scheme

Link carers provide overnight stays and day care in their own home for disabled children and young people.

The children have varying levels of need due to their learning, sensory or physical disability.

The care provided will be planned with the child’s family, and will generally be several days a month for a child.

These arrangements will often continue for many years and link carers become very much part of the child’s extended family!

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Connected Persons foster care (Kinship fostering)

Kinship fostering lets someone care for a specific child if they are a family member, friend or have a connection to the family.

These people can be considered as a potential connected persons carer for a Suffolk child in care if they live in the UK.

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Parent and child

Parent and child fostering is being able to offer a placement for the parent and their child. Some young parents and their very young children benefit from living with a foster family together for a short period of time.

This type of placement can be complex and challenging but also brings it’s rewards.

Do you have the space and ability to open your home to a parent and their child to help support and encourage them to develop their skills to parent their child?

You would need to have space, time, discretion, confidence, sensitivity and to be assertive.

One of our parent and child foster carers said:

“I see my role as nurturing the mum and baby and walking beside them as they begin their journey together.”

Read more about Sarah’s journey and parent and child adoption on our real stories section.

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Arrange to speak to a foster carer or adoptive parent 

Call us: 01473 264800

Email us: fosterandadopt@suffolk.gov.uk

You can also leave feedback about our website.

Become a foster carer or adopter

Request a call back

Alternatively you can complete our contact form.

Read the Suffolk County Council privacy notice.