Recruiting and supporting short-break carers for children who are considered 'hard to place'

Beth Prewett

Shared care schemes support disabled children and their families, linking children with families or individuals who can provide them with short breaks on a regular basis.

Disabled children experience new relationships, environments and activities while their families get some 'time to themselves'. Whilst the vital family support short break services provide has been increasingly recognised and promoted by Government initiatives (including Quality Protects), those disabled children and their families most in need of support are waiting for services because of a lack of carers.

This report describes:

  • who becomes a short break carer for children who are 'hard to place' and why
  • how these carers are recruited and assessed
  • what training and support is provided

It highlights some fundamental issues relating to recruiting and retaining short break carers. These include: perceptions of the service itself and the short break carer's role, the amount carers are 'reimbursed' for their role and the support short break carers receive. Practical advice and recommendations arising from the research is provided at the end of each chapter.