respite foster care

Respite fostering

What is respite foster care?

Foster parents sometimes need some time away from their role to rest and unwind – we call this respite. This is valuable for everyone, but particularly for people who look after children with disabilities, behavioural challenges or special educational needs.

Respite fostering provides a well-earned break to foster parents (and occasionally birth parents), particularly to those who are caring for children or young people with higher-level needs or disabilities. It's arranged in line with the needs of the child and their care plan and can be a one-off or a regularly planned placement.

Generally, respite fostering is for a night or two at a time - but can be for longer - and often takes place at the weekend or during school holidays. It’s all planned in advance, which means our team of respite foster parents have plenty of time to make arrangements, so it’s an ideal way to foster if you’re unable to commit full-time.

We aim for continuity wherever we can, and so we look to make sure the same respite carers look after the same children so they get to know each other over time. Respite foster care is great for foster parents, but the change can also be good for the child’s learning experience. It’s a unique form of fostering, but it is also extremely rewarding.

As a respite foster parent, you’ll have access to the same levels of support and training as all of our foster parents.

how much do you get paid for respite foster care

Respite fostering allowance

With Fosterplus, you’ll benefit from an attractive fostering payment for every night a child is in your care, together with other benefits and rewards. As well as helping with the costs of caring for a child, this package also rewards your professionalism and hard work.

While the allowance most likely isn't the reason you're considering a career in fostering, we understand it's an important consideration. So we've put together an allowance calculator to help you find out how much you could receive from fostering.

Go to allowance calculator

Is respite fostering right for you?

As well as the other requirements to foster, you’ll need to be flexible about your availability, including weekends. It can also be a great way to provide fostering while you have other commitments, and can also be a good way of gaining experience before caring for children on a longer-term basis.

Frequently asked questions

Who can become a foster parent?

Almost anybody can apply to become a foster parent - the only initial requirements are that you're over 21 years old, you have the legal right to work in the UK and that you have a spare bedroom that's always available to a child in your care. Of course, you'll also need to be kind, caring and dedicated to making a difference to a child.

Other than that, we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnic groups. You can be gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, single, married or cohabiting. We also support foster parents with disabilities and health conditions, who are able to meet the needs of children in care.

So if you've ever wondered whether you could foster - we can't encourage you enough to take the first step and speak to our friendly team.

Start your journey   Who can foster?

How do you become a foster parent?

The first step is to have a chat with one of our friendly advisors - either complete our online form or give us a call on 0800 369 8512. We'll speak to you about the role, take a few details and answer any of your questions.

When you're ready to progress, there's a standard application and assessment process that you'll need to go through to become an approved foster parent, including home visits, background checks and references, training and attending a fostering panel. You can find out more about each step below.

How to become a foster parent

What are the different types of fostering?

We offer many different types of fostering so we can continue to meet the ever-changing needs of children and young people in foster care. These include short-term or interim care (up to 2 years), long-term or permanent care (more than 2 years and until the child turns eighteen), emergency, respite and more.

We also provide foster care placements that are considered specialist, including parent and child fostering and caring for children with disabilities or those seeking asylum. Learn about the different types of fostering below.

Types of fostering

Other types of fostering

Speak to our team

Ready to take your first step into fostering? We're here to support you on your journey...





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