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Respite foster care

What is respite foster care?
Respite foster care is used as a temporary break for children in foster care, for children that have additional needs or for children whose families are not coping at any given time for a variety of reasons. This can mean that some children will only need support during a crisis, while others will need ongoing short breaks to support them and the family, they live in. Respite care is often planned, mostly during weekends or school holidays but can also be during the week.

Where respite is ongoing, we aim to place the same child with the same respite carers at regular intervals, this allows the child to be familiarised with that person and build a trusting relationship. This arrangement helps avoid the trauma that can be caused by a change of living conditions and can even make it something they can look forward to.

Why is respite care needed?
Many of the children who need respite care have additional needs. Providing care for them can be both demanding and challenging. This can sometimes be stressful for everyone in the household and families might feel they need time for them and have an opportunity to spend time with other children in the family. Therefore, respite care offers the family a short period of time to rest and recharge their energies.

The child also gets to experience an environment outside their family home. They might learn how to socialize with other children or people who are not part of their direct family. This helps them become more independent and can help break any feelings of isolation they may be experiencing.

Respite care mostly during the holidays and weekends and allows children to enjoy their favorite activities, have some fun, relax, and regroup before returning to their normal routine at home with their usual carer or family.

Benefits of respite foster care
It offers support for families caring for children with significant needs. Giving these parents/carers a break enables them to have some adult time, care for themselves, rest, feel less stressed and more able to provide the care the child needs moving forward.

The experience for the child can be an opportunity for the child can provide opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people.

What can you expect as a respite carer?
It can be rewarding knowing that you are giving a child a break from their current environment and letting them spend some time with someone they trust.

We encourage respite foster parents to work closely with the family/full-time carer and get to know the children ahead of their first stay, so they can begin to establish a positive, trusting relationship. It is also important that you have the right information about respite care and the person you are taking care of, so you know what to expect.

You need to be able to show patience, kindness, and understanding and keep in mind most of the children have additional needs. Respite care is not always easy; there may be times when the child might get upset, frustrated or even angry. You need to remain calm and show them that you understand their feelings and can help soothe them in their current situation. You will be supported in this through training, having a social worker allocated to you to offer support and guidance in caring for the child. There is also an out of hours telephone support line available.

Our support to you as a respite foster carer
We offer breaks between placements – so you will be able to know when the arrangement is to take place. This means you can organize your schedule to fit around respite foster care placements.

We provide extensive foster care training and support to support your journey to becoming the best foster carer you can be. We are always ready to assist you – our helpful staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ensuring that you are safe.

How to become a respite foster carer
Here at Fitzgerald Fostering, We are always on the lookout for people who are interested in offering respite care. Local councils are always looking for foster parents who are ready and able to adopt the respite care lifestyle and become respite foster carers, and there are regularly young people in need this opportunity.

In case you or someone you know is interested in becoming a respite foster carer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via 01753 550031 or fill out our contact form.

AuthorFitzgerald Fostering

DateDecember 12, 2022

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