This is when caring for a child who is "looked after" by the local authority. Children and young people in short term can be in a placement from just a few days to a couple of years. When a child or young person first comes into the care of the local authority they are placed with short term foster carers. This can be a very anxious, distressing, and uncertain time for these children and young people.
Children need their foster carer to be reassuring, understanding, and supportive during this difficult time. Often in short term placement the family situation is being considered by the Family Courts, and it is the courts who will make a decision to determine the most appropriate long term plan for the child; this may be either the child returning home to live with their birth parents, adoption, or long term fostering. Foster carers who provide short term placements know that they want to foster children for the foreseeable future, but might not be able to offer a life long commitment to a child. These foster carers will often care for a range of children over time, and will develop, and grow in their skill base and confidence.
Children will continue to have regular contact with their birth family whilst they are are in short term foster care. Contact can be up to five times per week for babies and young children. Foster carers need to have the availability to manage this, and be able to transport to and from contact.