What is respite foster care?
Respite foster care (also known as short break foster care) provides valuable support to foster families who may be experiencing difficulties or simply need some time to unwind and spend some time together as a family.
This type of foster placement provides foster families with a short break, while a child in their care stays with their respite foster parent for a few nights. Generally, respite care takes place over the weekend and during school holidays.
Respite care is carefully planned with the foster parent and responsible local authority to ensure the child’s best interests and needs are met. Wherever possible, we encourage respite foster parents to get to know the children ahead of their first stay, so they can begin to establish a positive, trusting relationship.
How to become a respite foster parent
We’ll speak to you about the role of a respite foster carer and the fostering service we provide, as well as answer any of your questions. We’ll also take a few basic details from you to make sure you meet the initial requirements to foster.
We’ll then arrange to visit you at home (or online via video call), so we can get to know you better. If you’re ready to take the next step, you’ll start the application process and if accepted, you’ll be assigned a dedicated assessing social worker who will support you throughout your fostering assessment right the way through to your panel day.
After panel, you’ll hopefully receive the good news that you’ve been approved as a foster parent and welcomed to your local ISP fostering family. Applying to become a foster parent takes around 4-6 months and will likely be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
Benefits of respite foster care
There are many benefits that respite foster care placements offer, including;
- Providing foster parents with a break from their day-to-day duties
- Helping to make a difference to a child's life - even if you're only caring for a child for a short period of time, you can still provide them with positive experiences
- Offers a chance for a child in care to develop a positive and trusting relationship with another adult
Discover some of the many benefits of fostering that you and your family will experience...
What qualities are needed to become a respite foster carer?
Being a foster carer is a profession, and like all professions that means an opportunity to learn and develop new skills - and even to gain qualifications. With over 30 years’ know-how and experience, you can be sure you’ll always have access to first-class training throughout your career. All we need from you is:
Short-term foster care
Caring for a child on a short-term basis, from a night or two and up to two years, and often required while care proceedings are ongoing.
Long-term foster care
Offering a more permanent home for a child in care, which often lasts until they reach independence.
Emergency foster care
Providing a home for a child who has been taken into care quickly due to an immediate threat to their safety or wellbeing.
Children with a disability
Providing specialist care to a child with a disability; this could be a child with complex medical needs, such as tube fed, limited mobility, full self-care needs, or a child with low functioning autism.
Parent & child fostering
Providing vulnerable parents with the skills and knowledge they need to provide a safe and nurturing environment for a baby and meeting their ever-changing needs.
Other types of foster care
As well as respite foster care, there are a number of other types of placements, including: