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Respite foster care

  • Respite fostering provides care to children on a short-term basis, usually for a weekend or an evening.
  • It allows carers or family members to have a break, oftentimes when dealing with a child who is disabled or has complex health or behavioural needs.
  • Respite care is flexible and so it is a great option for new carers or carers with busy schedules!

What is respite foster care?

Respite care involves looking after a child for a very short period, most often as a weekend break for a child’s long-term foster parents or family members, for a week or two during the school holidays, or occasionally, on an evening after school. The amount of time a child will spend in your home depends on the needs of that young person and the needs of their existing carer. Sometimes respite can be an ongoing arrangement and you become the named family for a particular child whenever his or her carer needs a break.

Respite care is extremely important because it allows children and young people to be cared for in the event of an emergency. For instance, urgent family commitments or illness may mean that a foster parent or family member cannot provide care temporarily. This type of care means that children have a safe place to go when there may be no other options.

Other examples may be that a carer or family member may be looking after a child with complex health needs or behavioural problems. Oftentimes, this may mean they need a holiday or a break to help them reduce their stress levels. Respite care provides them with that, giving them time to relax and enjoy some time to themselves.

Who is suited to it?

Respite care is flexible, which means that it is ideal for couples or single people who work during the week. If you’re new to fostering and nervous or apprehensive about deciding to become a carer then respite care can be a great way to build up your experience and confidence before committing to a longer-term placement.

Family Fostering Partners provide full training to any new carers and ensure that they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to deal with the role of a foster parent. Some great qualities that we look for in respite carers include patience, tolerance, the ability to listen, remain calm and be positive!

How to become a respite carer?

The process of becoming a respite carer is identical to that of becoming a long term or short-term carer. You will have support from a link worker during the entire application process and they will visit you on several occasions in your home to help complete your fostering assessment. This is then presented to the fostering panel who will make the final decision regarding your application to become a carer.

You can learn more about the process of becoming a foster carer by visiting our “The process” page on our website.

Why become a respite carer?

There is an ongoing need for more respite carers, therefore if you think you have the skills, time, space and energy to offer respite care for children in your area you can contact us today by filling in the form below, emailing or by using the live chat dialogue box in the bottom right part of our website.

Respite Carer

As respite carers we are given all the information on the child/young person by the agency. We also work closely with the children’s carers. This enables the transition to be easier for the children.

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