I'm looking for someone to take dd (10) out for half days over the summer holidays (and hopefully for this arrangement to be something that continues at weekends) as I have 2 other children and catering for them all can be impossible.
She is the only one with identified special needs (and to be honest is the one I most need a break from). She would behave when out - she just gets on better when she has an adult to herself (hence the problem going out with the three of them). We used to get 24 hrs respite a month, but the foster carer gave up and I couldn't face going through the process of trying to be linked with another one. And also as a family we would probably be better off having more regular breaks from her. Having a 24 hr break was great, but there were sometimes problems on 're-entry', whereas I'm sure half a day here and there wouldn't have the same effect.
If I fill out a form for a Family Link worker - what am I letting myself in for? It took us a year from applying for respite for it to actually start. We didn't apply until we were on our knees, frankly. Now I feel we have slightly different needs and I want to get something sorted out before we reach that state again.
Or is there a better way of organising this? I don't know of anyone I could get to do it privately, and am wary of just putting an ad somewhere. I don't know if going through a link worker would mean it would be free. I've looked into direct payments a bit, which seem to be for support/care, but it seems I'd need to open a separate bank account and then act as a sort of employer. I could do this, but it seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Plus I don't want endless visits from social workers. We receive DLA and Carer's Allowance, but reports vary on how close to a nervous breakdown you need to be to qualify for direct payments, so I suspect we could go all through the assessment process and then be rejected. It's all very confusing. We're stressed but not on the verge of breakdown, just trying to be proactive about easing the stress on all of us. At the moment, one person to regularly take dd out would seem like a good way to go. I have no idea what sort of money is reasonable to pay for this either. Or of any other organisations I could approach to link me with a suitable person. I'm really looking for an older buddy figure I suppose.