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Becoming a respite carer

Thursday 24 March 2016

Respite care is a valuable resource available to support children living at home with their families, as well as children living with their regular foster carers. Here’s more about what it is, why it’s important, and the qualities a respite foster carer needs.

What is respite care?

Respite care provides short-term placements for children with the same carer. Ideal for families, couples or singletons who work, respite care usually takes place on weekends or during school holidays in order to support an existing foster carer or family member.

The placement period can vary according to the needs of the child or the existing carer and their family.

In some situations, a respite carer may be asked to look after a child during an overnight stay; or an evening after school; however there may be some instances where a respite carer may be asked to support a child for a longer period of time; however this never exceeds more than four weeks.

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Respite care is flexible meaning the carer can regulate their level of commitment.

Why might a child be in respite care?

Respite care supports children up to 14-years-old who have been involved in a family trauma or crisis within their own family. In other cases, children may be from very deprived homes and may suffer from neglect.

Under these circumstances, children may feel angry and upset causing them to become aggressive or unresponsive. The carer is to provide support and assistance to what could be, an emotionally disturbed child.

Respite care also supports families who are experiencing high levels of stress who need a short break every now and then.

Normally these families may be caring for their child or children who are disabled or suffering with special needs.

A child will be linked with a respite carer, enabling the family of the child to have regular short-breaks to relax and unwind. This may take place during the school holidays, or alternate weekends.

What qualities does respite carer need?

In order to be considered as a respite carer, you must possess the following qualities:

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

As a respite carer, you will need to:

Why might I not be suitable?

You will not be considered suitable as a respite carer if:

  • You or a family member have a criminal conviction
  • You are waiting to adopt
  • You have a child looked after by a local authority
  • You already do respite work for another agency

Respite care might not be the right type of fostering for you. We offer different types of fostering and can help you finding a another suitable placement.

Apply to be a respite carer

If you are interested in becoming a respite carer, fill out our quick enquiry form and someone will get back to you.

Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.