Short Break FAQ’s
I rent my home – can I provide short breaks?
Yes, as long as you are able to provide a stable home for a child requiring short breaks and there is no risk of eviction. As part of our assessment process we seek references from your landlord if you are living in a rented property.
Can I become a short breaks carer if I am working?
Yes – many of our carers work and provide short breaks and we are flexible around your schedule. As caring can be a demanding role we discuss your work circumstances during our assessment process. Caring is a big commitment and we ask you to think about whether you are able to balance working and being a short breaks carer.
Is there an age limit for being a short break carer?
You need to be 18 years of age in order to be a short breaks carer. There is no upper age limit for caring, but you need to be fit enough to care for the children.
I am already a registered foster carer – how can I provide short breaks?
All that will be required to be an approved short break carer is a top-up assessment; which will allow you be a dual-approved carer. Contact your link worker for more information or give our team a call on 02837 564350.
Do I need any special skills, experience or qualifications?
No, qualifications are not required, we will provide training and support during your application and throughout your caring journey. However it would be beneficial if you have experience in looking after or working with children.
Can I be a carer if I have a criminal conviction?
We are dedicated to ensuring vulnerable children are kept safe and secure while with our short break carers. As such, we carry out police checks as part of our assessment process to ensure we are aware of any convictions. We assess each case on an individual basis and discuss the impact of any convictions on your ability to become a short breaks carer. It is important you disclose any convictions early on to allow us to advise you better.
Can I become a short break carer if I have pets?
Yes – many of our carers have pets as they are part of the family and they can often help many children relax and settle into a new environment. As part of the assessment process we complete a pet assessment to ensure that it they will be a danger to a child receiving short break care.
How does short breaks differ from fostering?
Short break care differs from fostering as it is solely for children with disabilities who have been assessed as requiring the short break service. We work around your availability, whether that’s one day a month or one overnight a week, we then match you up with suitable children from our waiting list.
Do I have to be able to drive?
Being able to drive isn’t essential, as long as you have access to suitable transport that enables you to fulfil the duties required of the caring role.
Can I be a short breaks carer if I am single or in a same-sex relationship?
Yes, you do not have to be married or in a relationship to care. Many of our carers are single. Your sexuality does not affect your ability to provide care. We welcome applications from people irrespective of gender, sexuality, marital status, race or religion.
How long does it take to become an approved short break carer?
It will depend on how ready you are to move through the assessment process and our training availability. Understanding our assessment process as detailed below will give you a better insight into timescales for becoming a short break carer.
Initial Enquiry: Once you contact us to make an enquiry, we aim to have a telephone discussion with you as soon as possible. At the end of that conversation, you will be asked if you are ready to progress to the next stage which is a home visit which we aim to carry out within 10 working days. You may require more time to think and you can get in touch with us when you are ready.
Home Visit: This will take place within 10 working days of the enquiry. After the home visit you will be asked to complete a form (FOS1) and when this is received we can progress to the next stage which is carrying out preliminary checks. Once these checks are completed you receive a copy of the report. If you are ready to proceed and you will be invited to the skills to foster training.
Assessment: This assessment will take between 4 and 6 months until you go to panel for approval.
Skills to foster Training: Our colleagues in the Family Placement team run this training regularly throughout the year. You will be given the dates to plan your attendance. If you have just missed a course, there may be a delay of a number of weeks or months until the next group.
Panel: If you are approved at panel, we will then begin looking for a placement for you.
Will my spouse / partner also need to be assessed?
Yes, if you are living together your partner will be a secondary carer and as such you will both need to be involved in the application and assessment from the home visit stage of the process.
Who decides which children I can provide a short break to?
We do this together. During your assessment we will discuss the types of caring that you are interested in as well as the ages and types of children that you would like to care for. We encourage all prospective carers to be as open and flexible as possible, as this will help to ensure you have regular placements.
We believe that matching the right child with the right carers is one of the most important factors in ensuring a placement is successful. Once approved, we will ensure that we work closely with you to match the right child to you, your family and your skills and experience. You will be fully consulted before any decision is made to go ahead with the placement.
How much will I be told about the children before they arrive?
We gather as much information as possible about each child that is referred to us, as this enables to make better matches. The more that we know about a child and the background the easier it will be to match them with a carer that can meet their needs.
When we identify you as a potential match for a child we will share the information that we have and consult with you on whether you feel the child would be a good fit for you and your family.
What age will the children be?
The children can be any age from 0-17. During your application and assessment we will work with you to understand the ages and types of children that you would like to care for. We would encourage you to be as open and flexible as possible as this will increase the likelihood of us being able to place a child with you.
Can short breaks children share a bedroom with other children?
In order to apply to be a short breaks carer you must have a spare bedroom; this is because short break children must have their own bedroom if they require an overnight break.
What training will I receive?
All carers must complete the introductory Skills to Foster training, following this you will then complete our specialist Disability Awareness training to provide you with the skills needed to provide care for children with disabilities.
We are passionate about supporting our carers through delivering ongoing training and support in order to help you provide a high standard of care for the children you will be supporting. Bespoke training based around the needs of the child will also be provided.
I have children of my own – can I still become a short breaks carer?
Being a carer involves the whole family and can be a positive and transformative experience for your children. Your children will be included in the application and assessment process; your link worker will meet with them to discuss their thoughts and feelings about becoming a carer and answer any questions that they may have.