Child in short term foster care having fun

Short break foster care

What is short break fostering?

Short break’ is defined as ‘a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or challenging’. It’s a perfect description for respite fostering, which is where a foster carer takes on the care and support of a child or young person so that the usual foster carer can take a well-deserved break. We offer all of our foster carers respite care every year, so there’s an on-going need for respite foster carers to step in on a regular basis with short break care for children and young people.

For foster carers (and birth parents) who look after children with particularly complex challenges, respite care is absolutely priceless. These are always short-term fostering placements, often for just a night, sometimes for a long weekend, occasionally for a week or even two. These breaks are all planned well in advance, giving short break foster carers plenty of time to make arrangements, so it’s ideal if you’re not able to be a full time foster carer.

In all cases, the child will come to your home, and they’ll almost certainly be local. Over time, you’ll probably support the same children regularly, so you’ll get to know each other well making it easier and better for everyone. And while it always causes some upheaval for the children, a new environment can also be a useful and stimulating learning experience. The biggest reward of all however, is knowing you’re making a real and lasting difference to a young person.


Got any more questions?
Find out the answers here.

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Are you thinking of fostering?

Download the FCA’s complete beginner’s guide to fostering a child. Find out more on how to foster a child and the process involved.

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How to become a short break foster carer

To become a foster carer the first step is to fill out our online form and we’ll be in touch to talk to you more about fostering, check you meet the initial criteria to foster and of course answer any questions you may have.

Our team will then arrange to visit you at home, so find out in more depth about fostering and also give us the opportunity to get to know you better. You’ll then need to fill in an application form and, if accepted, you’ll start your full fostering assessment.


Interested in becoming a foster carer with FCA Scotland?

Do you have the skills and flexibility to be a respite foster parent?

Enter your town or postcode to find your nearest office or get in touch today.

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Short Break Fostering Allowances

You’ll receive a generous fostering payment for every week a child or young person is in your care, designed to reward your professionalism and commitment.

Fostering allowances

Other types of fostering

Linda's Foster Story

Linda, a foster carer from North Lanarkshire, has been reflecting on her 18-year fostering journey and the assistance she has received from FCA Scotland. Having previously worked as a childminder and arranging her schedule around her son, Linda now serves as a short-break carer for FCA Scotland.

Read More

Speak to our team

Whether you’re ready to start your journey or just want to chat to an expert, we're here to talk.

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