Respite foster care

You can still make a huge impact by caring for a child one weekend every month.

Become a carer today

What is respite foster care?

Respite foster care is a part of our foster care program. Caring for a child one weekend every month (or more during school holidays), respite foster care provides a foster child with additional positive relationships and experiences, plus allows their foster families a little break.

Respite care is a great way to get started on your fostering journey and to see if fostering is right for you. You still get the opportunity to help children in need without committing to the full time aspect of other types of foster care.


Support for respite foster carers


Undergo foster care training

You still get comprehensive initial training, the same as other foster carers

24/7 on-call support

You will have access to 24/7 foster carer support at any time of day or night if a crisis arises

Access to foster care payments

Respite carers are still able to receive a tax-free allowance to contribute to the costs of caring for a child
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Ongoing learning & events

Continue to improve your foster care knowledge

Why is respite care needed?

Respite foster carers support both the children and their foster parents. Children benefit from having another supportive adult relationship who can act as a role model in their lives. You’re also invaluable to foster carers who may benefit from having a weekend break to rest and recharge.

“As respite foster carers we’re there to basically give their main foster carers a break for the weekend and allow that young person a bit of fun time and change of scenery.”
– Rory & Dan, Barnardos respite foster carers

"It's a very rewarding experience, and once this little person comes into your life you will never look back" - Dan

Rory and Dan
Play Video about Rory and Dan

Meet Rory and Dan - Respite carers

We wanted to start a family nearly eight or nine years ago in the early days when we knew we wanted to be parents but we weren’t sure how how capable we were necessarily. Respite just seemed to be such a great option for us because it gave a little bit of a taste of parenting without 24/7 commitment.

Once we were approved for respite foster care we were eventually placed with – he was 12 at the time – a young man called Ben and he was going to stay with us for one weekend a month for a period of minimum two-year commitment. It was the first respite foster care placement and over a course of about four years.

In addition to Ben we looked after another three other young people, it was that one weekend a month or two weekends a month as it turned out to be a commitment. We got to test our abilities as parents and how we work together.  As respite foster carers we’re there to basically give their main foster carers a break for the weekend and allow that young person a bit of fun time, I guess a bit of a change of scenery.   

We got married in 2018 and Ben ended up being part of our wedding party. We felt like he was part of our family for a very long time and we wanted him to be a part of that.

It’s a very rewarding sort of experience and yeah once this little person comes into your lives you just will never look back.

Is respite foster caring for you? Take our short quiz.


Other types of foster care

Short-term foster care

You might be just who we are looking for!

Interested in becoming a respite foster carer?

Register your interest and we will contact you to make sure you get you all the foster care information you need.