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.
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
What qualities are needed to become a respite foster carer?
What is respite care for a child?
Respite care provides you as a parent or foster parent with the opportunity to take a break from looking after your child. This may be weekend foster care, a night during the week or perhaps a week over the summer holidays.
Respite for parents is particularly important if you’re caring for a child or young person with a disability or complex needs as it gives you the chance to rest and unwind from an incredibly demanding role.
At ISP, we arrange for the children and young people in our care to stay with another foster family who they've gotten to know really well through a number of meetups. We try to make this an enjoyable experience for the children so it's more like a fun sleepover where they play games, enjoy different activities and are treated to their favourite foods.
If you’re a parent who is caring for a child with a disability, you will need to apply for respite services for parents through your local authority. Find out more about short break care here.
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: