What are short breaks?

Short breaks foster carers provide regular day care, overnight or weekend respite care for children and young people with physical or learning disabilities. These children live with their families or carers at home. This gives parents a break from providing the intensive and round-the-clock care the child may need. It also gives the young person a break away from their parents.

The children and young people could have a range of disabilities including autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, visual or hearing impairments or a combination of physical and learning difficulties. We need short breaks foster carers to commit to support these young people and their families over a longer period of time.

There are two types of short breaks care.

  • Day care involves you looking after the child either for a few hours or the whole day, often people will choose to have a tea visit after school.
  • Overnight care can mean the child staying with you for a longer period. If you could offer overnight care a child or young person could stay with you for one night, a whole weekend or even longer. This is dependent on what you can offer and what the child or young person needs.

Both types of short breaks mean that the child can spend time with another family. Overnight care is built up slowly so that the child becomes familiar with their short breaks foster carer.

Portrait photo of a smiling teen boy with autism
Autistic boy wearing headphones looking out of window

Short breaks fostering: a case study

Tommy is eight-years-old. He has been diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He lives at home with his mum and two younger sisters.

For the last year, Tommy has been going to stay with a short breaks foster carer once a month at the weekend. This foster carer has experience working with children with autism and ADHD from her time as a teaching assistant in a school. Tommy stays overnight and they do lots of fun things like listening to music and dancing along, going to the park and playing board games.

Tommy enjoys going to his short breaks foster carer because it gives him a little bit of independence away from his parents and the chance to make new friends. He also gets lots of one-on-one attention! It gives Tommy’s parents a weekend off from looking after him around-the-clock and they are much more relaxed when he comes home.

Could you be a short breaks foster carer?

A short breaks foster carer should be patient, good at communicating in a variety of ways and may have experience of children with additional needs. Most children will require constant supervision so you will need to be prepared to offer that for short periods of time. We are looking for people who can offer long-term commitment to build a relationship with the child and their family.

Could that be you?

Call us on 0300 131 2797 or email us today. Or you can enquire by clicking the button below and we’ll be in touch.

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