Types of fostering

We provide a wide range of fostering arrangements to meet the different needs of children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families. They may need care for a short while or for a longer period of time.  

Our priority areas are carers for teenagers, large sibling groups and children with complex needs/disabilities.

If caring for teenagers interests you, please see the inspirational video created by ‘Inspired Youth’, all the actors are care leavers.

There are several different types of fostering, click on the heading links for more information. If you are interested in foster caring and would like to speak to member of our fostering team about taking the first step, email us at ss.fostering.and.adoption@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 378 3538​. Please ensure you leave a contact telephone number.​​​​​​​​


Click to expandSupported Lodgings

Supported Lodgings is aimed at people wanting to provide accommodation and support older young people aged 16 to 21 years old (25 if in further education).

Young people are encouraged to undertake independence training with Providers and placements are monitored closely by Social Work Assistants.

This role is ideal for people who like to support older young people but can’t commit to full time fostering. Providers can work full time and are paid an allowance for every young person they take.

Rent a Room is aimed at people wanting to provide suitable accommodation to Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers (UASC), aged 16 plus, to those young people who are identified as needing low level supported accommodation.

Click to expandEmergency care

Emergency care involves taking children and young people on very short notice for 2 to 3 days until a short term placement can be found. Emergency placements are often needed overnight or over weekends. Emergency care can often fit in with people/couples who work although a degree of flexibility is required. ​

Click to expandShort Term

Short-term fostering is any placement lasting up to two years. Children in short-term fostering placements need support until they return to their families or move to longer-term planned placements, including adoption. Children who need this type of support can be any age - from babies and infants up to teens. All our short-term carers provide placements in an emergency or at short notice.​​​

Click to expandLong Term

Some children are unable to live with their birth families on a permanent basis. Long-term fostering provides placements for children and young people, often for a number of years. Many children are still in contact with their birth families, so a key responsibility for long-term foster carers is supporting this contact for their fostered child or children. Long-term fostering allows a child to grow up in a safe, secure environment, often until they are old enough to leave care.​​​

Click to expandSupport care

Support carers provide time out for children and young people living with another family, allowing them to continue to live at home. Support care aims to prevent family breakdown and avoid the need for children to become looked after.

Support care is available to those children living at home with their families, in kinship and adoptive placements and offers, day care, evening care and/or planned overnight or weekend stays at the carer’s home. Children typically spend one to three overnight stays with the same support carer every few weeks. The child and the family will have the opportunity to meet the carer prior to a placement beginning, with most support care arrangements last between 12 and 18 months. 

Support carers need to be able to understand the stresses and strains of parenting and be sensitive, non-judgmental and professional when working alongside children and their families. Each child will have an allocated social worker and may be subject to an ongoing child protection or child in need plan.

Support carers often work full time and offer their availability to the scheme one weekend in four, others may work part time and offer greater availably. These arrangement and availability will be discussed with our fostering team to ensure the best care for young people.  ​​​​​

Click to expandTeenager plus

The Fostering Department has a small specialist team supporting foster carers who specifically care for young people aged 13 plus. These carers normally have previous personal and/or professional experience in caring for or working with teenagers and are either level 3 or level 4 foster carers (see support for foster carers re carer levels). Recently the council and country has seen a steady increase of the numbers of teenagers requiring foster placements and there is currently a large short fall in foster carers for this age bracket. If you are interested in caring for teenagers please ring the department quoting ‘teenager plus’.

“Every teenager comes with their own baggage. The most important thing is to try to relate to them, understand that it is a difficult time for them, and try to gain their trust. If you haven’t got that, you can’t do any other work because otherwise they’ll always suspect you have another agenda and it can also be very difficult with someone who is absolutely bashing their head against everything. You have to have open communication, and you won’t get that till you have established trust. You almost have to get to the point of putting your arm around them and tell them that yes, they will be safe and they will be looked after. But while you have to have the patience of a saint, it’s also very a different type of patience and very different work from fostering a young child.

You need a level head, know what you’re getting into and know how to engage with them. But don’t be naïve. It can be very challenging and you have to be the adult who says it isn’t working, and something needs to change – but do it with the teenager, not behind their back. And you have to have your eyes wide open because it just may not work, whateveryou do.

It’s not for everyone. I’ve come across carers who have taken in teenagers and just aren’t ready for that different type of fostering, because you’ve got to be able to give them independence and a sense of security, and you also have to go through the massive amount of baggage they have. But we wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t rewarding. You see someone who was once broken, and who now, five years on, is independent and in a relationship and has a job. And that is wonderful.”

Click to expandParent & Child


Parent and child foster carers involve showing a parent, usually young themselves, how to be a good parent and care for their child.

Parent and child foster carers usually have to write detailed observation sheets that may be used in the social work decision making process – their input helps to determine whether the parent should be allowed to care for their child or whether the child should be cared for by somebody else.