Respite foster care is a fostering placement for a limited time only. A respite foster carer cares for a child for a week or two at a time, for example during school holidays, or at weekends- this is often the same child at regular intervals. Foster carers who offer respite fostering generally look after children who are already cared for on a full time basis by other foster carers or sometimes their birth parents. This respite period can benefit both the foster carer and the child by giving some ‘respite’ or a short break from usual the duties of care.
Why is respite fostering needed?
Respite fostering is required in a number of different circumstances. For example, a full time foster carer may need a holiday or they may have urgent family commitments meaning they need to travel overseas. Sometimes if a fostering placement is particularly challenging a fostering provider may arrange for them to have a short break from the placement. This can also sometimes be the case with birth families, where a child has a disability or a particularly challenging behavioural issue which means the parents are under considerable pressure and would benefit from a break.
What is involved in respite fostering?
Respite fostering involves working closely with the full time carer who is usually responsible for the child. It’s also important to reassure a child that the respite placement will only be for a short time period and that they will be able to return to their usual home afterwards. This 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?
Respite fostering is extremely important to the well-being of many foster families. This 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
• Have a huge impact on a child and a foster parent’s quality of life, giving the respite foster carer the chance to make a real difference in the lives of both parties.
If you’d like to know more about respite fostering, why not request a call back from our website? Or you can find out other ways to contact us here.