Temporary foster care
Respite can be for overnight, a few days or a week or two and often happens at regular times and in school holidays or at weekends. Foster carers who do respite fostering usually care for children already staying with other foster carers or not so often, at home with their birth parents. The reason for respite can be to give the foster carer or the child (or both) a short break.
Respite carers will work as part of a team with the full-time foster carers and sometimes with the children’s parents. Respite is usually part of a shared plan to ensure consistency of care in the child’s life.
All foster carers can be approved and the service is available to foster carers where the plan for the child involves occasional short break care.
Foster carers may also request foster children have respite care because they or the foster child might need a break to recharge batteries. Also, it might not be possible to include a foster child in holiday plans.
Foster carers who start fostering specialising in respite care often decide to become full-time foster carers.
From a child’s point of view, a carer will:
- always treat them as part of the family
- listen and talk to them
- discipline them
- protect them and look after their needs
- be there for reassurance and trust
- help build on going relationships with people who are important to them
- provide them with information
- work with different children at different times.
All Fostering Agencies offer and arrange short breaks for their foster carers. On average Agencies provide up to 21 nights of paid breaks a year, during which time the placements are arranged within the Agency.
During the temporary care, foster carers might go on holiday, or just take time to take a break to help reduce stress for either the foster family or the foster child, or both.
Temporary breaks can be a significant factor in maintaining difficult to manage foster children so as to prevent foster care placement breakdown and huge disruption for the foster child.
People interested in respite fostering and becoming foster carers should find out what support packages are on offer before pursuing an application. This is where we can help.