Children in Care

Respite Care for Children

The 1989 Children Act provides a clear legislative framework for the provision of short-term care. The Act requires children to be consulted about their needs and about the services to be provided and if a child is using 'respite care', Devon Social Services must draw up a care plan, visit the child from time to time and review the placements on a regular basis. Whichever agency is providing the short-term care, it should always be part of an integrated and co-ordinated approach to meeting the child's needs.

Respite care in Devon comes under our Fostering scheme. It can be arranged on a one off or a regular basis. It can also be arranged for short periods of time (such as a few hours) or for longer stays of a week or more. Respite care is usually arranged on a planned basis, but it may be arranged quickly in an emergency situation.

Primarily, the respite care provides day care for children, which could involve providing respite for just mornings, afternoons, after school or at times over the weekend. On occasions, where appropriate, respite carers can be asked to have the child for overnight stays. There are instances when respite carers can be asked to provide longer terms of care. This would be subject to their availability, approval and providing that this does not exceed a period of four weeks.

The conditions of working within the respite carer scheme means that the carer can regulate their level of commitment. This can be suited to meet their availability and the circumstances of their own family needs. Some foster carers find it easier to work with just one or two children while others enjoy the dynamics and demands of working with a number of children. Some placements can be planned to be with carers for different periods throughout the weeks.


  • your local Social Services office