Exploring respite foster care: a flexible way to make a difference

Everything you need to know about respite fostering

Respite fostering in Central Bedfordshire

Have you ever thought about fostering but you don’t think you have the time? Or, you’d love to foster but the idea of a child in your home 24/7 feels daunting?

Respite foster care is an opportunity to be a foster carer, without the full time commitment.

Lucy and Ally, two current Central Bedfordshire Council respite foster carers, have shared their experiences of fostering to answer some most asked questions below.

What is respite foster care?

Respite foster care is a type of fostering that provides a foster family with a break. It’s a planned length of time that could be anything from two nights every six weeks, a weekend every month or a week holiday.

Respite care is like being a family member that someone can rely on to look after their child. Just as you might send a child to a grandparent for a holiday, a respite carer can step in and provide that holiday break that everyone needs.

How do I know if I would be a good foster carer?

If you are a loving, honest and compassionate person you’re on your way to becoming a foster carer.

Fostering and adoption had always been on Lucy’s heart but she wasn’t sure if it was right for her.

Before I had children I didn’t think I could do fostering or adoption because I wouldn’t get the bond I wanted.

But, now she is a respite foster carer, Lucy knows that you can still have a special bond with the children.

Having any time with a foster child on their journey, however short, can have a positive impact on the child. And you make your own memories as a family.

Ally’s motivation was to help a family member.

My sister was fostering a young boy with high [additional] needs and she was struggling to get respite. I wanted to help her. I also wanted to help children who need love.

Respite fostering in Central Bedfordshire - woman with a child

What are the benefits of respite foster care?

Providing respite care helps both the foster parent and the child. It’s a double kindness. You’re helping to support a child or young person to remain safe and secure with their long term foster carers.

If a child comes into my home - it’s an honour to have them. My kids want to share their toys with them - that child feels like they are really wanted. They go back and feel refreshed. As do their full time foster parents. Everyone benefits from respite care.

Respite care is more flexible than full time care, it gives you the opportunity to try something different and build new skills. There are financial benefits and you don’t have to worry about giving up work.

Respite fostering in Central Bedfordshire - man with a young child

What resources, training and financial support is available to respite foster carers?

Whether you are providing full time, emergency or respite foster care, you receive the same level of training and support. As a respite carer you receive regular check in visits and support from your social worker to give you any help you need. And, support is accessible out of hours.

The financial allowance and expenses you receive for respite foster care are equivalent to the money a full time carer receives and depends on how much time you are caring for the baby, child or teenager.

Read more information on support and allowances available for foster carers.

Could you spare a weekend once a month to take care of a child?

You’d make a huge difference in the lives of a child, foster carers and a whole family.

How do I become a foster carer?

Start by talking to your family and friends. It’s not a quick decision to make alone.

Next, get in touch with Central Bedfordshire Council to find out about how it all works and what to expect as you start this fulfilling journey.

Request an information pack or a callback

Request an information pack

Telephone: 0300 300 8181