The Grandmother Effect: Planned Break Fostering

5th March, 2024

Capstone Foster Carer Steph and her husband, Pete, came into fostering in their 70’s. While they felt that full time fostering would be too intensive, the couple still felt like they had something to offer and missed having young people in their lives, so they began their career as planned break foster carers.

Planned Break Fostering

What is planned break fostering? we hear you ask. Planned break, also known as respite fostering, is a type of foster care where you, as the planned break foster carers, look after children for short periods of time, whether that is a weekend or a longer stay, like a week for example.

This gives the full-time fostering family a break, but also the foster children a break as well as the opportunity to develop positive relationships with other adults outside of the primary fostering arrangement.

The idea being that you have regular children who visit and build a relationship with. Steph commented:

“It gives the full-time carers a break while also giving the children that stability.

For us, it’s so fulfilling, as that consistency means we have the joy of watching the children mature and grow.

One of the girls we look after, her confidence has grown so much. Now she sings and plays guitar, we’re proud to be a small part of that.”

The Grandmother Effect

The couple are happy that the children see their visits with them as a ‘little holiday’ and admit themselves it’s nice to be considered as Grandparents, children in foster care can miss out on that type of relationship.

With them living on an old farm in South Devon, along side their alpacas, cats, and chickens, it’s easy to see why the children view them as a holiday away. But it’s more than that, as Steph continues:

“We have our little rituals which they like doing when they come here. One boy always wants to bake a chocolate cake, so we do that together. I’m an artist myself, so we love doing arts and crafts too.”


Could you be a foster grandmother? Call Capstone Foster Care today to learn more about planned break foster care on 0800 012 4004.


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