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I would love to hear FC’s views on this. We have fostered for 15 years and used it a handful of time when no other option (i.e. short term LAC had no passport and family wedding abroad) but generally our kids come on holiday with us.
We currently have a little one in for respite for THE WHOLE of the six weeks holiday. He is only 4 months old and already had 2 weeks respite in May/June. I cant believe this is allowed how can he possible make attachments?
That sounds a lot!
It seems approaches/policies/attitudes to respite vary enormously from some agencies/LAs providing paid respite to some very rarely using it and only to avoid placement breakdowns.
My view is that respite can be very positive and can help children to benefit from mini breaks away from the foster carers such as would often take place within birth families when children stay with extended family members. This can also provide support to foster carers who can ‘recharge batteries’, spend time together as a couple, attend events (weddings, funerals etc) where it would not be appropriate to take the children.
saying this I do feel it is important that children are taken on holiday with the foster family if at all possible and respite breaks should be used carefully and the priority should be the needs of the child/ren… good topic for discussion!! six weeks does seem a lot!
Without knowing the details, I agree with Steve in that the respite for the child does seem excessive. In simple terms Leanne, the baby will only be 20 weeks old at the end of respite with you. In that time they will have been in respite care for 8 weeks that’s 40% of the child’s life in respite care and probably longer in respect to the time spent in care dependent on when the baby was taken into care.
NMS 21.5 state Foster cares are provided with breaks from caring as appropriate. These are planned to take account of the needs of any children placed.
I would have thought the attachment needs of the baby would have been a priority. If the carers had intended to be away for a six week period (after an initial 2 week period) why would a service place the baby with the original carers and subsequently have the remove the child twice. Respite is supposed to be a planed event. My concerns would be, who does the child see as their main care giver, initially birth mum, then foster carer then respite carer 1 then foster carer then respite carer 2. In the interest of the child alone would it not be best for the child to reach development milestone to actually remain with the you Leanne as you will more than likely have formed the best attachments with the baby.
Thanks so much for this I especially interested to read NMS 21.5 because it feels very much the need of the child has not been considered…. there is still some debate as to whether he will return or remain although the Social Worker keeps saying she wants him to remain in our care? Surely she would make the ultimate decision so confused as to why she is wording it like this? Any thoughts?
This looks like a sensible decision to allow the little one to stay and establish attachments to his/her main carers. Whatever the future outcomes for the child at least they will have the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with you which will help meet some of their milestones. This will have an affect on future relationships. Attachment enables us as individuals to make positive relationships with all manner of people. If the previous pattern had continued then the child would have issues latter in life. I hope the child settles and soon becomes part of your family. Good luck