Respite Foster Care

Respite fostering provides care to children on a short-term basis, usually for a weekend or an evening.

What is Respite Foster Care ?

Respite fostering is a type of foster care whereby short-term care is offered by a respite foster parent to children and their caregivers. Respite foster parents provide temporary care for children, usually for a few days, a weekend, or an evening, which then allows foster carers or families to have a short break. Where possible, our foster parents’ respite care is carefully planned because we want to ensure continuity for children and their family or fostering family. This allows time for introductions and planning, making the time away from home feel more like a ‘short stay’ rather than a more formal “respite care”.

Respite foster care is an invaluable service provided by respite foster parents. Respite foster carers allow long term or short term foster parents a short break, giving them time to rest and recharge their batteries.  Respite foster care may also be provided in case of emergencies such as the need for urgent family matters or unplanned medical needs. Normally the duration of respite foster care will range from a day, up to a few weeks, it all depends on a foster parent’s individual situation or circumstances.

Foster Carers Careers

The Importance of Respite Foster Care

Respite foster care serves as a means to offer children a secure and nurturing space while their primary foster parents attend to personal matters or take a short break. It also provides an opportunity for children to explore a different environment, interact with new individuals, and forge new connections with their respite foster parents. Such experiences can greatly contribute to their emotional and psychological well-being, which in turn help enshrine stability in their lives.

In addition, respite foster care offers children a much-needed reprieve from their usual routines, allowing them to recharge and have a change in circumstances. During this time, the respite foster parent provides temporary care and support, ensuring a child’s needs are met and that they feel safe and protected. This experience can help children who are fostered become more self-reliant and confident as they learn to trust and depend on new people.

In most cases, respite care can become a regular arrangement, with the same respite foster parent providing care in a planned way. This offers children consistency and familiarity, promoting stability in their lives. It also gives the respite foster family a deeper sense of fulfilment as they develop meaningful relationships with the children in their care.

Why do foster parents or children who are looked after need respite care?

As previously mentioned, respite foster care is crucial for the well-being of primary foster parents and families, providing them with the opportunity to take a break and recharge. By providing temporary relief to primary foster parents and families, respite foster care plays a significant role in ensuring that children in foster care receive the quality care and support they need. Like all families, parents benefit and feel recharged when their children go for sleepovers at family members’ houses – respite care emulates this. A short break in which to recharge their batteries, and a new and exciting experience for the children who are going for a short stay. 

Would being a respite foster parent suit you?

Respite foster care is ideal for those who may have work commitments during the week, as it offers flexibility for short-term placements, usually over a weekend or an evening. It’s also an excellent starting point for those who are new to fostering and may be unsure if they are ready to commit to longer-term fostering. Respite care can help you to build experience, gain confidence, and assess whether long term fostering is the right choice for you.

We provide training, support, and financial compensation to all our foster parents, including those who offer respite foster care. We offer full training to all new carers, ensuring they are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to excel in their role as a foster parent. All foster parents with Family Fostering Partners have access to Foster Talk, an external provider who offers free medical and legal advice, plus offers and discounts.

Watch the video below to hear from Steve, a foster parent who offers respite care with Family Fostering Partners.

How To Become a Respite Foster Parent?

To become a respite foster parent, you will need to go through the same application process as long-term or short-term carers. The application process will be completed with the help of one of our assessing social workers, who will provide guidance and support throughout. Learn more about the process on our Becoming a Foster Parent page.

At Family Fostering Partners, we understand the application process can be overwhelming, which is why we are here to guide you every step of the way. There is an ongoing need for more respite foster parents, so if you think you have the skills, time, space, and energy to offer respite care for children in your area, please enquire now by filling out the contact form. 

    Benefits of Working with Respite Foster Care

    Offers Break for Primary Carers.

    Fosters Stability and Consistency.

    Enriches Children's Experiences.

    More Flexible Approach To A Fostering Journey.