Home and Away

Foster girl downs

What is Home and Away?

Home and Away carers provide care in their own homes for disabled children usually during weekends and school holidays, although care can also be required after school or at other times. It is not a full time role but it is essential that carers are able to make a firm commitment to a regular pattern of care.

Why do we need Home and Away carers? 

Families who are bringing up a child with disabilities often find it very difficult to have time for themselves. Home and Away care offers everyone in the family a rest from their caring role and time to relax and recharge and gives a disabled child an important new experience. It's a regular arrangement which enables the carer to build a relationship with the child’s family.

Who can be a Home and Away carer? 

  • You must be aged 21 or over and you must have the time, space and energy to make a regular commitment to the child who is matched with you
  • Home and Away is often a long term obligation with a very specific remit and is not designed to be an introduction to full-time fostering, though some family link carers do also foster
  • You need to have the motivation and dedication to meet the needs of disabled children, and also to be able to meet the other requirements of the task such as report writing and attending meetings

Allowances and benefits 

  • Carers receive a financial allowance for the time that a child is with them
  • This is designed to cover the basic costs of caring for the child while they are with you, but it is an ‘allowance’ not a ‘payment’, so under normal circumstances it does not affect your position regarding tax
  • As a Home and Away carer you benefit from having access to a range of training opportunities that are free to you. These will range from specific ‘on-the-job’ training regarding the care of a particular child, to training days around a whole variety of relevant topics
  • You will also benefit from a professional support network which will include your own Home and Away Supervising Social Worker who will visit you regularly and help to set-up and maintain your placements and offer you advice and guidance and practical support
  • As well as this regular face-to-face support, there is always emergency help available 24 hours a day, every day should you need it
  • You will be given free membership to both the Fostering Network and the Short Breaks Network, both of which are specialist support and information organisations to help foster carers and family link carers
  • You will be able to join our carers online social networking group and will also receive our regular carers newsletters

Becoming a Home and Away carer 

If you think you could care for a disabled child for short periods to give a local family a break or just want to know more - we would love to hear from you. We will guide you through a process to make sure it is right for you, your family and the child. The whole process normally takes between four and six months.

To find out more about the process involved, see the next steps.


 

Last updated: 28 June 2017. Was this information helpful?

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