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March 2022

What is respite foster care and who can provide it?

What is respite foster care?

Whilst a child is in care, their foster parents may need to take some valuable time out either to recharge their batteries, deal with family circumstances, or have time to heal from illness. It’s at these times we would reach out to our respite families to have the child or children come and stay for a short period of time in respite foster care. Stays could be just overnight or potentially for a week or two; some children receive regular respite.

During their stay, the respite carer would take on the full responsibility of the primary foster carer, ensuring that the daily routines and structure in place are maintained to give stability. This could mean facilitating the school run and after-school activities, birth family contact, health professional appointments, etc. We encourage our respite carers to build positive relationships with our young people by involving them with aspects of their own life.

Here are a few quotes our respite carers would like to share:

“As respite foster parents, every child we have looked after has had a positive impact on our lives.”

“We aim to find out about the child’s routine, likes/dislikes before their stay from their main foster parent(s) and/or the agency so that we can maintain consistency and, if possible, meet them in an environment which is most comfortable for them; this can be a visit to our home or their home or a meeting in a park/public space.”

“A meal together at the table or a slice of cake creates a warm welcome for our foster children on arrival.”

“We have enjoyed many long walks through woods, parks, and countryside with our foster children and sometimes together with our extended family. For those older children who like animals, we have walked rescue greyhound dogs. We have fond memories of sitting in our garden for hours with a teenager discussing current affairs.”

Could you become a respite foster carer?

All we ask for is a spare room in a loving home, your patience, resilience, time, and compassion. No experience is necessary, however, experience with children with complex behaviour is always an added bonus. Respite placements are usually planned and there is normally time for you to meet with the young person prior to them staying with you.

The process to become a respite carer is the same as becoming a foster carer. You will receive the same training opportunities, be assigned your own supervising social worker, and be included in all our family activities regardless of whether you have a child in placement or not. Steps to becoming a foster carer.

Respite foster care is a type of fostering that provides short term foster care for children in need. Foster families offering respite care play a crucial role in the broader system of types of foster care. By providing foster placements, they offer much-needed support to primary foster carers and contribute significantly to foster care placements overall.

If you would like to find out more about respite fostering and help make a positive impact on a child’s life, please call us on 203 757 0070 or click on the link to request a callback.

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