For some looked after children, it’s not possible or appropriate for them to return to live with their birth family or other relatives. They'll need the security and stability of being permanently cared for in another family.
Joining a new family through adoption will be the right plan for many of these children. However, for many, adoption is not an option.
This may be because adoptive families have not been found for them. Or it may be because they still have lots of contact with their birth family and they may wish to remain a member of their birth family, even though they cannot live with them.
Most of these children are older (over 8 years old) and some are in sibling groups. There may also be disabled children for whom long term fostering is the right plan.
For these children, the important thing is for them to feel secure and safe with foster families and to feel that they belong. They need carers who can offer a commitment to them, to help and guide them through the rest of their childhood and into adulthood.
When you're approved as a long term foster carer, we'll discuss particular children with you and agree on a child or children who would be the right match for you and for the child. Introductions can then begin for the child to move to live with you.
All children who are looked after in long term foster care will have their own social worker who will visit and keep in regular contact with them and with you. Long term foster carers have all the same support available to all foster carers, including a supervising social worker, ongoing allowances and access to support groups and training.
In addition, many long term foster carers will be paid an additional fee in recognition of the work they undertake, to enable them to carry on looking after some of our most needy children.
The rewards are knowing that you are helping a child feel secure and stable within your family, and in seeing them mature and move on through their adult lives.
Ask about fostering