What is Respite Foster Care?

Respite foster care is where a child is temporarily placed with another foster care. Usually, to provide their birth or foster family, as well as the child themselves, a chance to rest and recuperate. Also, respite can be used to deal with emergencies.

Why is respite foster care needed?

Respite foster care can be needed for a variety of different scenarios. For example, a child’s “main” foster carer may need a holiday or an urgent family commitment may require them to travel overseas.

Another possible scenario is the child might have a disability or behavioural issues that are very challenging. This puts the foster carers under considerable pressure and would benefit from a break.

It can also be used if a foster placement is proving to be particularly challenging then we can arrange a respite the placement for you.

When and how long can respite care be?

Respite care can vary according to various needs.  The respite foster carer may sometimes be needed overnight, or they may be needed to support a child for a longer period. This can a week to two weeks or alternate weekends.

What benefits are there?

Respite foster care can be very important to foster families and their wellbeing with benefits including:

  • Offering vital support to foster carers.
  • Improving the child and foster parent’s quality of life and allowing the carer chance to make a difference for both parties.
  • Allow carers to enrich the lives of children on a short-term basis.

Many respite foster carers are not just approved as respite carers. They can also be approved for other short-term or long term foster placements as well.

What requirements do I need to offer respite care?

If you are interested in becoming a respite foster carer, that is fantastic news, and could open a gateway into a rewarding new career in fostering. To be a respite foster carer you need to have many personal qualities over education and experience, in particular:

  • Energy
  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Sensitivity
  • Tolerance
  • Commitment and Flexibility

You must also be able to undergo an assessment process, attend various training sessions as well as meet all statutory and DBS checks. It’s also important to note that you may not actually see the birth family members of the child you are offering respite.

Also, if you are looking to adopt or have a child looked after by a local authority then you might not be suitable to be a respite foster carer with us.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer click here.

Explore the other types of foster caring on this page.