What is the Breathing Space fostering scheme?
The Breathing Space scheme works to provide short term emergency or respite arrangements for children and young people in the care of Warwickshire County Council who:
- require an immediate placement move due to an unexpected breakdown in their current care arrangement; and/or
- are placed with a Solo foster carer where the carer requires a period of respite;
- need a period of assessment by the social workers and foster carer to determine their current and future care arrangements; or
- enter care in a genuine emergency and require an assessment to inform future care arrangements.
Breathing Space scheme foster carer key responsibilities
Breathing Space foster carers will provide care to a child/young person for a maximum of 28 days. Each carer is to provide up to 41 weeks of foster care per annum. Breathing Space foster carers will be entitled to 1 week’s paid resting fee (at half pay) after each period of 28 days.
One foster carer in the household will need to be at home as a full-time carer with no other employment. You will need to attend meetings and to work in partnership with a range of other professionals as a significant member of a team around the young person. In addition, you will be required to attend ongoing professional training and development courses and support groups. Breathing Space foster carers will not have any of their own children under the age of 16 years old or other foster children in the household. They are to be available to care for the child/young person throughout the arrangement.
Where the child/young person is not in education, Breathing Space foster carers will provide day care or alternative learning opportunities and as necessary will support the reintegration of the child/young person into school. The carer will also ensure, encourage and facilitate the child/young person’s family time and to access other identified services such as education, health and Rise.
Breathing Space foster carers will provide a written profile which will be used to contribute to the overall assessment of the child/young persons’ needs. This will then assist in future placement matching decisions or plans for rehabilitation. Breathing Space carers are required to assist the child/young person in making a successful transition to a future placement.
Due to their background, the needs of these young people may be higher than those of their peers in Warwickshire foster homes. They are likely to have had previous multiple placement breakdowns, been traumatised by previous experiences of abuse and neglect, and have associated emotional, behavioural and attachment difficulties.
The children or young people you will care for will have very specific or complex needs which may initially need a higher level of attention and supervision. They are amongst the most vulnerable and demanding and we are not able to place them alongside other children.
Children with complex needs may display the following:
- sexualised behaviour
- social or attachment disorders or mental health difficulties
- criminal activity
- physical or aggressive behaviour
Ideally, carers for this scheme will have no children of their own under 18 living at home.
You will need:
- significant experience of working directly with or caring for challenging young people who present a range of behaviours
- to be open-minded and have the commitment to make a difference
- patience, time and commitment to meet the individual needs of the child.
Ultimately you must be able to offer stability and support, communicating with the young person to build a positive relationship.
What will you receive in return?
- You will be paid a weekly fee of £351.33 plus fostering allowances when working
- You will have the support of a dedicated fostering social worker and family support worker.
- You will have the support of a team of professionals who are working with the young person in your care and who can offer you one to one advice and support.
- You will have access to a specialist training programme, some of which will start during your assessment period.
- When the office is closed, you will have access to 24-hour support via the foster care support line and emergency duty team.