As a respite carer, you are more likely to care for a larger number of children on a temporary basis than a regular carer would. So, when one respite placement ends, a new one must begin, if that’s what you signed up for. Each child is different with a scale of needs from basic to extreme, and even though you only see them for a short time per month, for example, you are still in the role of caregiver. This is a big responsibility, and a rewarding one and needs to be navigated with well-being as the core focus for everyone. Here are some top tips for foster carers in the position of transitioning between respite foster placements .
Understand the Policy of the Agency
The rules and regulations will depend entirely upon which fostering agency you work for. As shown here by fosterplus.co.uk, the role of respite carer has many benefits, but they must also follow legislation in every decision they make. Your agency might have specific advice for people in your position, and it is worth listening to it to help things run as smoothly as possible.
There is no room for aggressive carers in this industry. Fostering is emotional and demanding, but amazing and fulfilling too. A respite carer may only see a snippet of a child’s life, but they are still involved and are supposed to provide a place of peace. A weekend away from their usual placement may be stressful for the child, who has already had a life governed by uncertainty so it could take a little while to build trust. The best way to do this is to remain neutral, calm, and collected in the face of any challenge thrown your way.
Keep the Narrative Open with the Whole Family
If there are birth children in the home, consider their feelings and needs too. Foster placements may be disruptive to their natural routine, but they can get a lot out of this unique experience. It is beneficial to highlight the potential positives and try to engage everyone in the house in a positive way to get the most out of the short time you have together.
While enthusiasm is encouraged, it is essential that anyone in this position respects the boundaries of the child. This is the only way to ensure that optimal comfort levels are maintained and avoid unnecessary conflict during their time in your home. Even if you do things differently in your house, respect their established routine and way of doing things and try to adapt your mindset to suit them rather than the other way around.
Liaise with Primary Carers
Make sure open lines of communication stay that way at all times. Primary carers know the child they are looking after. They understand their needs, habits, and triggers so it is worth listening to them to gain further insight and help the transition for everyone. This might be a regular respite job or a one-off, but the focus should be on listening and responding.
Make your house a nirvana and keep it fun. Respite care is a huge responsibility, but it is a road surrounded by excitement and goodwill.