Foster carers provide a safe and secure home for children who are unable to stay with their birth family. Children in foster care can be any age from birth to 18 years.
Children and young people in foster care may have contact with their birth family while they are living with a foster carer. This is arranged by the Department for Child Protection (DCP).
Respite care involves having a child in care for short stays. This could be regular weekends, school holidays or one off overnight stays.
Respite care gives longer term foster carers a break and allows children to build new relationships and have new experiences.
Watch this video about a respite carer
Short-term care can last from two weeks to two years. The aim is to give the birth family some time to manage a difficult issue.
The child may then return to their birth family if it is appropriate, or they may be placed in long term care.
Watch this video about caring for children short-term
Emergency foster care may involve an overnight stay or last for up to two weeks.
Carers who provide emergency care can be contacted at short notice at any time of the day.
Watch this video about providing emergency care
for some children, returning to their birth family is not possible. Long-term care is provided until family circumstances change or until the child turns 18.