Respite care is the short-term care of a very dependent or difficult child. It enables the parents - birth, foster, or adoptive – to take a break. Some children’s needs require round-the-clock intensive care, and parents can soon become burned out. Respite fostering is often very rewarding, and a close relationship can grow up between families over the years.
Sometimes, respite carers are eventually be asked by a family to adopt their child. Some respite carers will have had special training to care for the needs of very handicapped or challenging children. This kind of foster care can be very suitable for people who need to know that a placement will be very short (but repeated at more or less regular intervals) because respite care will almost never be longer than a couple of weeks, and is very often measured in hours or days. Respite care is often a critical component of family preservation efforts.