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fostering types

Respite fostering

Respite fostering is when you care for a child for short periods of time on a planned and regular basis. This allows the child’s usual Foster Carers to have a break themselves and supports them in caring for the child longer term.

You will usually be supporting the same child, meaning you get to know their likes and interests. Not only can you offer new experiences and be another trusted adult for that child, but you will be able to see directly the benefit your care has had.

Respite care is carefully planned to ensure the child’s best interests and needs are met. Wherever possible, we encourage respite Foster Carers to get to know the children ahead of their first stay, so they can begin to establish a positive, trusting relationship.

You could start your journey as a Foster Carer by offering respite care, then consider moving to another type of care further along your fostering career.

As with all types of fostering, carers for West Sussex County Council receive full training, ongoing support and competitive pay of up to £182.47 a month for a 2-night stay.

Carole joined our fostering family in 2022 and offers respite care for one young lady once a month and takes another for day care. She told us, "I’ve had seven children in the last year, who have all been delightful. The matching is really important and the young people have played to my skills. They have been challenging in their different ways, but they have taught me an awful lot. The training is good, but it’s nothing like gaining experience! Sometimes a child highlights for you the fact that you need a different kind of a training, such as how to get a child to open up who is very shut down. I want to understand why a child might be like that and find a can opener really in terms of trying to open them up. I know the children’s full-time carers pretty well – we talk a lot. That dynamic is really important, so that we have that wider pool of understanding and can share experiences. It’s important to feel part of something."

Caz is one of our amazing full-time carers and values the support that Carole provides: “The respite care that Carole offers once a month is a life saver for me. The young person I care for is extremely complex and Carole’s support gives me the chance to recharge and rest for a couple of days. We have the same Social Worker which helps immensely as she knows us both well and trusts us to organise things ourselves, we just have to let her know what we have arranged. The young person benefits as well – it’s like a little holiday once a month, having different experiences with Carole and learning how to engage with someone else.”

Professional support and competitive pay

Thinking of becoming a Foster Carer?

Do you want to make a difference to a child in West Sussex? Could you provide a safe, secure and loving environment and help them through a challenging time in their lives? Do you have a spare room? If the answer is yes, we'd love to hear from you.

Could you support a young person aged 16-24 to prepare for adult life?

By teaching life skills and providing emotional support, you could help a young person reach their full potential!