Part-time fostering

Part-time foster care, also known as short break care or respite fostering, provides temporary foster care for children who live full-time at home with their families or with full-time foster carers.

There are several part-time fostering options, all of which help to support children and their caregivers.

Part-time foster carers look after children on a very short-term basis, for a range of times based on the short breaks carers’ availability, such as after school, overnight and weekend stays and during school holidays.

Part-time foster carers need to commit to at least one weekend a month and up to 8 sessions each month depending on the carer’s schedule and availability.

Though part-time foster carers will not be looking after a child full-time, they still need to meet fostering standards and requirements, including having a spare bedroom to be able to offer overnight care to a child or young person.

Part-time foster carers can offer a range of part-time care according to their own availability and choice.

Short breaks

Short breaks carers provide a range of pre-planned short stays for children and young people who already live with a full-time foster carer or guardian. They also provide emergency foster stays if appropriate and available, as well as holiday cover for foster families if a child is not allowed or unable to go on holiday with their full-time foster family.

Short breaks foster carers can provide up to 8 sessions a month, ranging from an overnight stay to a couple of weeks during the school holidays. They must be able to offer at least one weekend most months.

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Short breaks for children with disabilities

This is a specialist fostering service for children and young people with physical or sensory disabilities, a learning disability, significant health care needs, or a combination of these.

Short breaks carers for children with disabilities give the children and their family, carer or guardian regular planned breaks, such as one overnight sleepover each month and one evening every 2 weeks. . This supports the children to have new experiences, helps them develop independence and gives their family a chance to recharge their batteries and spend time with any other children.

We carefully match carers and children according to the carer’s skills and the child’s specific needs. Specialist foster carers receive specific and full training and support.

Holiday/respite care

Holiday carers (also known as respite carers) look after foster children for short periods of up to 2 weeks to provide respite to the main carer.

​Children usually stay with holiday carers because their main foster carer is taking annual leave; or a child cannot be taken on holiday due to their legal status; or the main carer is experiencing a family emergency.

​Demand is highest for respite during the school holidays so would particularly suit people who work in a school or college.

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More information

What do short breaks foster carers do?

As a short breaks foster carer, you’d be helping change children and young people’s lives for the better.

​Short breaks fostering is a part-time fostering scheme that provides planned short breaks in the foster carer’s home for a child or young person with a disability.

​Short breaks foster carers have fun, go swimming, bake cakes, go on trips, have children over for sleepovers. Then the child goes home.

​The foster carers are matched very carefully to make sure they have the skills and experience to provide the kinds of breaks the child or young person will enjoy.

​Short breaks fostering gives children and young people with disabilities and/or complex health needs planned and ongoing opportunities to:

  • ​have a safe place to build relationships outside their family
  • join in activities with another family
  • be supported to build independence and choice
  • enjoy activities and outings
  • try out new experiences
  • visit the same short breaks family consistently
Who are the children that need short breaks?

Foster for Bradford looks after children with a wide range of disabilities and/or complex health needs.

​Most of the children live with their families and some live with other foster carers all the time.

​They live in the Bradford district.

​Some children and young people will have:

  • ​a physical disability
  • a learning disability (moderate to severe)
  • a sensory impairment
  • complex needs including multiple impairments which may include health needs
  • autism​
How much time do I need to dedicate as a short breaks foster carer?

If you have at least one weekend a month to spare, short breaks fostering could be for you.

Of course, we would welcome if you can spare more than one weekend a month too, especially during school holidays.

Are there any special requirements to be a short breaks foster carer?

Though part-time foster carers don’t look after a child full-time, you still need to meet all of the national fostering requirements. This includes being aged over 21, having a spare bedroom and fluency in the English language. You can learn more about our fostering requirements.

If you would like to foster children who have complex health needs or disabilities who require part-time specialist care, you may have to have experience in this area.

If this is an area of fostering you are interested in, we are always looking for foster families who can provide specialist care as well.


Hear from our carer

Want to know more?

If you’re unsure what type of fostering would suit you best, we will be happy to talk through the options with you.

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