Alternative Care is the care of children outside of parental care.
This should always be a temporary measure whilst permanent solutions are sought, and should have the clear purpose of offering children a protective, nurturing environment whilst efforts are made to find the child a permanent home.
It can take many forms, but should always make the best interests of the child its priority:
- Informal Kinship Care: An arrangement where the child is looked after on an on-going or indefinite basis by relatives or friends, without state involvement.
- Formal Kinship Care: Care by extended family or close friends which has been ordered by the state.
- Foster Care: Where children are placed by the state in a family other than the child’s own, that has been carefully selected and is supervised.
- Supervised Independent Living: Where older children live alone, and are supported by social workers.
- Residential Care: Care provided in any non-family group setting, often in a specially designed and designated facility which is staffed by qualified workers