Planning the Child’s Stay in Foster Care

More often than not, a child’s move to a fostering placement is sudden – sometimes the decision to move the child can be made on the same day (for example, if the child has come to school with significant injuries). It’s also not unusual for the children’s social worker to have limited information about the child before the child has their first fostering placement. Furthermore, in some circumstances the child’s social worker’s assessment will conclude that it’s safe for the child to return home (either because the concerns were explained satisfactorily, or because the parents have done the work required to offer better care to the child). Also, when a ‘match’ is sought between the child and the foster carer, it’s not possible at that time to be absolutely sure that the child will settle well with those particular foster carers. 

Because of these reasons, it’s usually not possible to say at the start of the placement whether the child will be staying with the foster carer for a few days, weeks, months or years. Sparks foster carers are required to be open to caring for the child/ren for any length of time. One of the benefits of being able to offer such flexibility is that it would reduce the number of moves to different fostering homes for the child. Reducing the number of moves to different fostering placements is essential for the child/ren to feel settled and secure.