08 June 2023

Short-term fostering in Manchester – how does it work, and what can you do?

Short-term fostering in Manchester – how does it work, and what can you do?

Overview: Exploring short-term fostering in Manchester and surrounding areas, including how much you get paid for short-term fostering and respite foster care and busting common fostering myths.

Short-term fostering, also known as non-permanent fostering, could offer you a more flexible way to positively impact the lives of young people and children in your area. But what does it involve? It’s the most common and in-demand type of fostering but a role that can be misunderstood. This introductory guide will explain what being a short-term foster parent means. It will also walk you through how short-term fostering works, including the process and support available. Finally, we will look at what you can do to get involved and bust some common myths about fostering. 

Length of short-term foster care

The length of non-permanent foster care depends on the circumstances and needs of the individual children and families who need your help. A child or young person may need to stay with you for just a couple of days or several months. Children come into short-term foster care for a variety of reasons, usually when they are not safely able to stay at home. A parent or primary carer could be ill or in hospital, or there may have been suspected abuse, alcohol or substance misuse issues. Your role as their short-term foster carer is to nurture and support them. On a day-to-day basis, you will look after your foster child full time and try to minimise the disruption to their life. You will offer stability during a time of difficult transition, making sure they continue with their schooling and have access to regular clubs and activities.

We always aim to reunite families wherever possible. A foster child might stay with you during an assessment process while parents receive support to overcome obstacles to the child’s return. When a child can’t return home, they may move into longer-term foster care or become an adopted child. You will equip them for their next steps and help them to understand their circumstances. 

What is the difference between respite and short-term fostering?

Respite fostering, sometimes called short break fostering, is another type of fostering that could be an option for you if you can’t commit to long-term fostering. Like short-term fostering, a child or young person will stay with you in your home for a short period. They might stay with you overnight, for a few days or up to a maximum of two weeks, perhaps during the holidays or when a child’s primary carers need a break. You could find yourself helping families with children with additional needs or providing a break for other foster carers. 

One of the main differences between respite and short-term fostering is that with respite caring, ideally, the same young people will visit you regularly. You can share in the little moments and watch them grow as they become settled and comfortable in your care. Respite carers offer truly valued support. They provide a stable and familiar environment for the children they work with and often introduce them to new experiences and activities too.

Do you get paid for short-term fostering?

As an independent fostering agency, we set our own fostering rates. We also review them annually to ensure we provide foster carers with the financial support they need to look after the children in their care. We offer a generous fostering allowance; for short-term fostering, you can expect to receive upwards of £412.32-£476.35 per week. This amount will usually be tax-free and increases if more than one child stays in your home.  

How much do you get for respite foster care UK? 

The amount you receive as a respite foster carer will depend on the needs and number of children in your care. Again, you can expect to receive upwards of £413 per week. For respite care this will be paid pro-rata for stays of less than a week. 

You can find more information about foster allowances in fostering allowance and benefits. Or, get in touch with our carer enquiries team, who will happily answer any queries in more detail.

What can you do? Fostering myths busted

As an independent agency, we’ve offered fostering services in Manchester and surrounding areas since 1997. And as you can imagine, we’ve heard a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about fostering in that time. We know that many people don’t realise that short-term and respite fostering could be options for them. Here are some of the most common fostering myths we hear, along with corresponding fostering facts:

Fostering myth

Fostering fact

I’m not in the right age group for fostering. You’ll need to be over the age of 21 to apply to be a foster carer, but there’s no upper age limit.
I can’t foster because I don’t own a big home. You don’t need to own your home to be a Foster Carer or to live in a big house. You will need a furnished spare room for a foster child that no one else uses.
I can’t foster because I’m single. Your marital or relationship status is not relevant for fostering. What does matter is that you are committed to providing a safe and loving home for a child. 
I can’t foster because I have a job already. Fostering requires time and commitment, but there are options for people who want to keep their job and foster. If you’re fostering as part of a couple, you’ll want to ensure that someone is always available to meet the needs of children in your care. Becoming a respite Foster Carer can also give greater flexibility to foster around an existing job. 
I can’t foster because I have a disability. We believe that everyone who can foster should. You should meet the criteria for fostering and be able to meet the needs of a child without it impacting your own well-being.
I can’t foster because I’m LGBTQ+. We value the diversity of our Foster Carers, and gender and sexuality have no bearing on our application process. 
I can’t foster because I can’t commit to full-time fostering. If you can’t commit to full-time fostering, you could make a difference by becoming a short-term or respite foster carer.

Short-term foster care near me – how does it work? 

As an independent fostering agency based in Oldham, we work with short-term Foster Carers who live within a wide catchment area, including:

  • Oldham
  • Rochdale
  • Manchester
  • Tameside
  • Huddersfield
  • Salford
  • Wigan
  • Halifax
  • Trafford
  • Bacup 

and all places in between. 

Our foster carers provide a safe and supportive environment for children and young people when they cannot live at home. 

Short-term fostering – getting started

Now that you understand short-term fostering, how it works and what you can do as a foster carer, why not take the next step? You can read about the fostering process. Or come along to one of our fostering in Manchester events to find out about short-term fostering in and around Manchester, or get in touch to find out how to start your fostering career. We’d love to hear from you!