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Respite Foster Care: All You Need to Know

Parenting is never easy, and there are many situations in which the parent might need a break. However, you can’t just take a break from parenting – your child still needs someone to care for them, which often puts parents in a tricky situation. It can feel at times like you’re trapped, and that you’re overwhelmed but there’s no way you can get away from how you feel – which is where respite foster care comes in.

What is respite foster care?

Respite foster care is that break that many parents often need. Whether you’re having difficulties with your child, or your child needs a higher level of care – getting that break isn’t so impossible. Respite fostering is available to both foster and birth parents, and it can give you that short break that you really need. Everyone knows being a parent is challenging, and for a short period of time, your children can be cared for while you’re away – usually during the weekend or a school holiday.

A respite foster parent will be paid to look after your child in the time that you need, and you can be sure that everything is taken care of while you relax, and take your break. Parents will have an opportunity to meet the respite foster carer ahead of time, so they don’t have to worry about trusting a stranger with their child. 

The benefits of respite fostering

Supporting families

Being able to get that break from being a parent every so often can help to make the family stronger. There’s a much smaller strain on the relationship between parent and child, and parents may feel much happier about their situation after being able to have that break. 

New experiences

Meeting new people and experiencing new things is important for children, and while parents may try their best to give their children everything – that’s not always possible. A respite foster parent may provide a different parenting approach and experience that some parents haven’t yet tried, even if it’s just for a short time.

It’s a short-term break

Often seeking a break from being a parent isn’t possible, and no one wants to give up their family forever. This is the short break that so many parents need, even if it’s just a one-time thing. Leaving your children in the care of a family member may not be an option, which is where respite foster parents come in.

Can anyone become a respite foster parent?

Anyone can become a respite foster parent given they meet the requirements. You need to make sure you’re a compassionate foster parent, who is at least 21 years old and has a spare bedroom available for a child. You’ll be asked to fill out an introductory form, and then your home will be visited so we can learn more about you before you’re recruited into being a respite foster parent. Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll be assessed by an assigned social worker to make sure you’re fit for the role. Contact our team for more information!