Respite care aims to provide families and children with regular breaks, but carers agree their level of commitment, taking their availability into account and the needs of their own family. Carers may be able to vary the times the visiting child is with them throughout the placement.
Some carers find it easier to work with just one or two children, while others enjoy the dynamics and demands of working with a number of children.
All children react and respond to the change of an alternative home differently. Some can be aggressive and uneasy, others may at first be over-polite and willing to please. Others withdraw into themselves, or act as if they haven't a care in the world. In some circumstances, children come from very deprived homes and on other occasions, they may have been neglected and not provided with the same level of care that you would be able to offer. Respite carers do work very closely with families and social services to help parents overcome the problems they experience.
What is involved in being a respite carer?
Respite carers are a group of caring, responsible people who are trained to work with children and families offering them support, respite, advice and attention.
All respite carers:
- work for the council's social services
- work from their own home
- prepare reports and assessments
- provide short term emergency placements
- support first time mothers before and after birth and assist with parenting skills
- are available at short notice
- work with children up to 14 years old
- provide planned summer holiday care.
From a child's point of view, a respite carer will:
- always treat them as part of the family
- listen and talk to them
- discipline them
- protect them and look after their needs
- be there for cuddles, reassurance and trust
- help build ongoing relationships with people who are important to them and will provide them with information
- work with different children at different times.