14 November 2017

​Northamptonshire County Council is looking to recruit new Family Link carers to provide short respite breaks for disabled children.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Family Link service, which provides breaks for a few hours at a time or a few days a month including overnight stays at the carer’s home. This provides the child with new social experiences in a loving home environment.

Quality time

It also gives families of disabled children some respite from the responsibilities of caring for their disabled child and allows them to spend quality time with other family members.

Ann Evans, from Kettering, was one of the first parents to benefit from the service when it launched in 1987.

Her daughter Naomi spent time with a local family and her experience of the Family Link service inspired Ann to become a social worker at Northamptonshire County Council working with disabled children.

Ann said: “At the time, I was a single parent so it was great to have that support. I didn’t want Naomi to go off to a residential unit, so the thought of her going to another family for respite breaks was much easier to accept.

“Naomi spent time with a lovely family who had three boys of their own and they wanted them to have experience of being with a child with a disability.

“They found it really rewarding to look after Naomi and we built a relationship with the family and became a part of each other’s lives. We still send each other Christmas cards now.”

'Invaluable service'

There are currently 19 households in Northamptonshire approved as Family Link carers and the county council is hoping more people will consider becoming a carer.

County council deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “The 30th anniversary of our Family Link service is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the invaluable service our Family Link carers provide.

“As all parents know, raising a child is rewarding but challenging, and having a child with disabilities can bring additional challenges. Our fantastic carers enable those parents to get a much-needed break while their child is cared for in a loving home environment.

“The number of families needing support from Family Link is increasing, with the needs of the children being more complex than ever before. That’s why we are encouraging people to consider applying to join our team of committed carers.”

On average, Family Link carers are expected to give around one weekend a month, and carers receive full support, advice and training, plus a dedicated social worker to support them and a financial allowance.

It takes around six months to become a Family Link carer and the application process includes a home visit, checks and assessments before a final decision is made by the fostering panel.

Find out more

To find out more visit the Family Link website or call 0300 126 1009.

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