The life of a foster carer is a rewarding one, but it can sometimes be a little too much. Whether it’s stress, family issues, or plain old exhaustion – we all need a break sometimes. This is where respite foster care comes in.

Respite foster care occurs when one foster family temporarily cares for another family’s foster children. If a family is experiencing a difficult time, another foster family can offer to temporarily share the load. If you’re interested in becoming involved in respite foster care with Orchard Fostering, read on to find out more.

When is respite foster care recommended?

Respite foster care is all about offering a foster child’s original foster family a short break. If a family is stressed out, or an illness or bereavement has occurred, their foster child can be accepted into a respite situation with another foster family.

How does respite foster care work?

Respite foster care occurs when a child’s permanent care situation is at risk of breaking down. It can also occur as a regular part of their foster journey, where breaks away from their permanent foster family are built into their care routine.

Whenever a respite is required, the foster child will head off to their respite foster family for a weekend, a few days, or a longer period if necessary. This gives their original foster family some breathing space or time to deal with the event that initiated the need for respite.

Who are the respite foster family?

Once a respite situation is deemed necessary, a respite foster family will be assigned. Respite foster families are other foster families (that may have their own permanent placements) who have decided to volunteer their help to other foster families in need.

Where possible we try to ensure that the child goes to a consistent respite carer if required. The chosen respite foster family will become a permanent part of the foster child’s life – ensuring that consistency of care is provided across their entire fostering journey.

What type of person makes a good respite foster carer?

If you’re caring, kind-hearted, and eager to help others, respite foster care is for you.

A lot of respite foster care centres around establishing trust and building lasting relationships over short bursts of time. Respite foster care requires you to be able to forge a bond with a foster child you may not see that often – building trust quickly and sincerely over a short period of time.

By taking a respite foster child in, you are also committing to crafting a relationship with an entire other family – your foster child’s original foster family. If you enjoy working with others and feel that you could be of assistance in a respite situation, you’re on the right track.

As well as an eagerness to work with others, flexibility is a great trait in a respite foster carer. While placements are usually scheduled in advance, some short notice placements do occur – so having the time and energy to pivot quickly is vital.

Does respite foster care go hand-in-hand with other placements?

Yes! You can be a respite foster carer and have your own permanent placement too. Your experience as a full-time foster carer would stand to you as you welcome a new foster child into your home.

You can also become a respite foster carer if you don’t have a permanent placement. Respite foster care can be a good introduction to the world of foster care, as it allows you to get a taste of what a permanent full-time placement might be like.

Orchard Fostering are currently seeking respite foster carers to respond to the needs of children already in care with us. If you’re interested in becoming a respite foster carer, please contact us today.