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Kerry and Michael's story: Why we offer respite care

Kerry and Michael began fostering 12 years ago. The couple both work full time and have two birth sons, now aged 15 and 20. Kerry and Michael offer respite care, which gives children in care a home away from home on a short term basis.

Applying to foster

Before applying, Kerry and Michael discussed it with their children and extended family.

Kerry explained: “We were in a comfortable position with our family of two boys. After contemplating whether to have another child we decided to apply to foster instead, and because Michael had come from a broken family, we were keen to help teenagers who were facing a similar position. We knew we had enough love, care, and space in our home to go for it, and our large extended family were very supportive and wanted to help as well.”

During the application process the couple’s circumstances changed. Even though this change in circumstances happened, it didn’t stop Kerry and Michael going on to foster.

“The staff who carried out the application assessment were wonderful and really got to know us as a family."

Respite care

Respite care, also known as second home care, is a short-term placement where a child or young person in care is placed with another fostering family. This allows both the foster carers and the children to have a rest and often becomes a regular routine for the child.

It proved to be the ideal option for Kerry and Michael, as they both hold full-time jobs alongside family life.

Kerry said: "Respite care has been perfect for us as we can offer our time and plan it around our busy lifestyle, while giving other carers the breaks they need and the chance to do things together with their own families they wouldn’t normally be able to do."

During their 12 years as foster carers, they have given respite care to several children and have regularly looked after one boy throughout that time.

“We have had the pleasure of looking after a boy since he was 9 years old; he visits us two Fridays a month, stays overnight and spends Saturdays with us. While there was a break in visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned after 10 weeks like nothing had happened, which was just lovely to see!”


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