WHAT IS RESPITE FOSTERING?
Respite foster care is a fostering placement that is for a limited duration of time. As a respite foster carer, one needs to look after a child for a week or two, for example during school holidays, or weekends. The child placed under them could be the same child placed at regular intervals, or someone acting as a one-off to support another foster carer. The majority of the children placed under respite foster care are those who are already placed full time under other foster carers, or sometimes their birth parents. Such a placement benefits both the foster carer and the child as it provides them some ‘respite’ or a short break from usual duties of care, particularly those children who have additional needs and challenging behaviors.
WHY IS RESPITE FOSTERING NEEDED?
Respite fostering is needed in several different set of special circumstances. For instance, when a full-time foster carer might need a holiday or have urgent family commitments requiring them to travel overseas.
Sometimes if a fostering placement is particularly challenging, the fostering provider can arrange to have a short break from his/her placement. This can also sometimes be the case with birth families having a disabled child with a particularly challenging behavioral issue. Under such adverse situations, the parents are often under considerable pressure and would benefit from a break.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A RESPITE FOSTERING?
Respite fostering involves working closely with the full-time carer who is generally responsible for taking care of the child.
It’s also important to reassure a child that the respite placement will only be for a short period and that they would be able to return to their usual home afterward. This phase can often be a stressful period for a foster child who may already be feeling the effects of previously disruptive changes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF RESPITE FOSTERING
Although respite fostering is not used as often as in the past (as much respite support is now offered by approved backup carers, or in the event of Direct Payments to parents/carers), its extremely important to the well-being of many foster families. It is because this type of fostering can:
• Provide vital support to parents or long term foster carers
• Allow carers to enrich the lives of children or young people on a short term basis
• Making a huge impact on a child and a foster parent’s quality of life, giving the respite foster carer the
opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of both parties.
Most foster carers are not just approved as respite carers, but also for short-term placements.
If you’d like to know more about respite and short-term fostering, why not request a call back from our website? Or you can find out other ways to contact us here.