Info and Advice

Different Types of Foster Care

Foster care is the care of children or young people outside of their own home by people other than their parents or legal guardians.
A young boy sits on a deck overlooking a lake

Foster care placement

Children and young people can be placed in foster care in one of two ways:

- Voluntarily (when a parent or family member asks Tusla for assistance)

- By a court order (when a judge deems it is in the best interest of the child to be placed in the care of Tusla

Relative Foster Care

When a child cannot live with their parents, Tusla will seek a suitable relative or person known to the child to provide relative care.

General Foster Care

When Tusla cannot find a suitable relative, or person known to the child, to provide relative care, they will place a child in general foster care. 

A general foster carer is a person approved by Tusla, who completes a process of assessment and is placed on a panel of approved foster carers to care for children.

Many children living in foster care have been with their foster families for most of their lives. Others have shorter placements, for example, if placed in an emergency while a care plan is being developed. 

If you don't feel safe in your foster home, it is a good idea to let someone know. You have the right to feel safe and protected in your home. 

Types of Foster Care Placements

There are several types of foster care that can be provided by both general and relative foster carers. 

Some examples include:


Day foster care

This is a placement with a foster carer during the day. You return to your birth parent in the evening and sleep at home.


Short-term placements

This type of placement is not meant to be for a long time. After short-term placement care, you may move back to your family, to another foster family or you may be adopted by another family. 


Long-term placements

Long-term foster placements may last for years - in some situations until you turn 18 years of age. Long-term foster placement usually means that you will not return to your birth parents.


Emergency care placements

This is where you are placed with temporary foster parents. You may be placed with these type of foster carers if you come into care very suddenly, or if a placement breaks down and you need to be moved very quickly. 


Respite care

Respite care provides caregivers with a temporary rest from caregiving.

Your rights and supports

The Child and Family Agency has a duty to make sure that all decisions about your care are made in your best interests.

- You have the right to have your views heard when decisions are being made about you being in care.

- You have the right to know everything about your time in care and the laws involved.

- You can decide if you want to visit your family, although social work or the court might decide that it's not safe for you to have contact.

- You have the right to live in a home where you feel safe and protected.

- You have the right to help and support if you do not feel safe and protected in your home.


If you would like to talk about anything that might be on your mind, it is important that you know there is always support available to you. Childline is always here to listen.

Contact Childline

Childline is always here to listen and to support you. You can call Childline on 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day), text Childline on 50101 (10am – 4am every day) or chat with Childline online

Talking helps!


1800 66 66 66