Types of fostering

Mainstream foster carers

There are several different types of mainstream fostering. You may find that you are more suited to a certain type because of your personal and professional circumstances.

Family with kite

Long term

Long term fostering placements give a child or young person somewhere to live and grow until they reach maturity. In certain circumstances, young people can remain with their foster carers, if both parties agree, until the young person reaches the age of 21. This would be under a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement.

Short term

Short term fostering is providing a child or young person with a place to stay until they can return to their own family, or until it becomes evident that they need a more permanent foster placement. This could be anything from a few days to a few years.


Tier 3 carers are specialist carers who have the skills and experience to look after children and young people who display challenging behaviours.

Parent and child

A parent and child placement is where parents can be supported alongside their children within a foster family. They might be having difficulties looking after their new baby, or need some extra help and advice so that they can do it well.


Mainstream foster carers can also be approved for emergency care. Emergency foster care is needed for situations where a child needs a foster home urgently, either for a night or for a few days.


Mainstream foster carers can also be approved for respite care. This is a fostering placement for a limited time only. The respite period can benefit both the foster carer and the child by offering the household a short break.

Connected Persons Fostering

Connected Persons Fostering is where you are approved to foster a specific child who is within your family or friends network. They may remain with you under this arrangement until they can return to their own family. This is also known as kinship or friends and family care. Where appropriate, you may go on to be approved by the Court as a Special Guardian for that child. Find out more about special guardianship (PDF).

Get in touch to find out more:

Fostering enquiry

Alternatively, phone us on 01234 718718 or email fostering@bedford.gov.uk.

Download the fostering information pack (PDF).