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How often do you get respite? and for how long?
We have two LOs, one school aged, one toddler. They have no contact, court case ongoing.
We get a half day "daycare" about once a month - not reliable - and have had 4 nights respite over 3 weekends in the past 10 months. Our respite carers are a bit hit and miss.
Littlest is at preschool a couple of mornings, when I do housework or meet with SW or attend courses. I feel I am stretched tight as a bow string.
I'd like to know what I could ask for, I dont want to be a pain, but I feel like my family are falling apart.
WHat I would like to ask for, and get, is one night respite every month and one daycare every month - so we get 2 weekends where we have some time to ourselves.
Does that sound reasonable?
Depends who you work for. We work for an IFA and have no respite. This was stopped some months ago. We would only be allowed respite now in 'exceptional' circumstances I believe.
No respite here either - my LA will now allow you to pick your own babysitters instead (because obviously they don't have to pay them as they would with respite!) The last time I used respite was 2010.
To be honest, your placements sound a dream! I have two pre-schoolers at the moment, neither of whom are allowed to attend nursery (which I agree with as its too soon). My housework (such as it is!) is done when I can, they have to attend meetings with me, and training here seemed to stop the minute the Tory government gained power.
Sadly, if you knew the circumstances, you would not say that Scarlet. But maybe I am expecting too much. We can only use other foster carers as baby sitters.
This is our 1st placement, they will be here for a minimum of 18 months. I think the prospect of another 6 months without a break is just daunting.
No respite here either - no leaving with babysitters either. We just get on with it really. I didn't actually realise some people had regular/irregular respite - is it usual?
I don't know SweetMelissa, hence my asking. Certainly everyone on my course has regular respite - some with the LOs extended family, some with a designated respite carer.
The childrens case is very complex and their behaviours quite extreme, so we are a bit worn out really. I dont want the placement to break down, but some of the behaviours are testing the limit. The LOs are seeing therapists, Im seeing a therapist to cope with the worst of the behaviours - its emotionally exhausting.
Some LA def offer respite as we are respite carers in our LA. If you don't ask you dont get, it seems the children we get have foster carers who have asked for respite (either to go away with their own family or just because they need a break) We have had children for anything from 1 night to 2 weeks!
At my IFA the carers get 2 weeks paid respite per year, pro rata. If they need more than this for any reason it can be arranged but it would be unpaid.
They can also have a support worker for 4 hours a week, either to take the kids out or to provide babysitting.
I think its shocking that not all carers get respite provided. Fostering can be so draining, physically and emotionally and there needs to be time to relax and re-energise.
You sound like you need a break, its hard work and you don't want to burn out. My IFA also gives 2 weeks respite and I can take unpaid respite if I need to. I also have a co-carer who I can use and is paid for (up to a limit) by the IFA. I use my co-carer for babysitting. The delegated authority I have also means that they can stay with family overnight too.
Its wrong that some of us get such great support and other carers are just left to get on with it.
I reckon if they thought you were struggling so much you were thinking about leaving they would soon offer you a break
Wow! Yet another time when I wonder why I foster for the LA. Even when we did get respite it was always unpaid.
Dwells, I read my post back and it sounds a bit flippant. I didn't mean it to come across that way. Have you joined any support groups? That way you would build up your contact with other foster carers who you could then use if you need a babysitter. It also helps just having friends to talk to who do the same job and know the problems you'll be experiencing.
I understand about the traumatised children - my three year old is also seeing a therapist (in an age when my LA will not normally even consider funding this). I think if I even tried leaving her with someone else for a night though she would go into a compete meltdown for the next week or so, undoing any benefit I got from a night off! Again, this isn't meant to be a criticism - just something to consider. If you've been promised respite and it isn't happening could it be because the children's SW has vetoed it?
I used to get respite and have had care packages for difficult placements where the child goes regularly to another carer overnight. Was on my knees before I got that though. We only get respite now if we are desperate, no respite carers. Not allowed to use family. Really makes me angry the way foster carers are expected to get on with things. Fostering is so exhausting, 24/7 sometimes. I don't understand why we are left to burn out, we are supposedly a valuable resource. When we do burn out the children are moved. It is not rocket science. Let us recharge our batteries, just let us have a little time off. It will save money and heartache further down the line.
scarlet is right about the fallout too though. Sometimes it just isn't worth it.
Hope you get a break op. Be firm with SWs.
Well our SW came up trumps today and has found us a respite carer - I spoke with them earlier and the lady sounds so nice and with a lovely sense of humour, so I hope things will all work out. We get a weekend a month, and we will probably phase it in slowly.
My own kids will be delighted to have their mum and dad to themselves for a while, and I will look forward to a full night of sleep!
FYI we do have to pay for our respite - the fee for the carer is deducted from our money, but I think that is absolutely right.
But amazed that there is so much variation among different LAs and different IFAs. Surely the time has come to standardise all this?
Good news. Family time is very important. As is sleep!
Yes never forget, you were a family, before these Little ones appeared, and need to continue as such,
Enjoy your break
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