A foster organisation is appealing to experienced care givers to offer up their skills and time to help give foster carers in Hartlepool a break.
Five Rivers Child Care says there are currently 210 children in foster care in the town, many of whose carers could benefit from respite.
It comes as the Fostering Network estimates the North East needs to recruit at least another 450 foster families in the next 12 months.
Five Rivers Child Care says respite carers provide vital support to long-term foster carers who might not otherwise have a break from their full-time role.
The social enterprise is also calling for those with care-giving experience and skills to think about becoming respite or short-term foster carers.
Martin Leitch, Five Rivers’ head of fostering operations, said: “Respite carers are an integral part of the fostering industry and ensure full-time foster carers can retain flexibility in their personal lives.
“Like everyone else, foster carers often find January a busy time so it can be a time when we require more respite carers than usual.
“This type of a care is a perfect employment opportunity for those with the relevant care giving skills and would be great for someone in an existing part-time care role looking for a flexible work opportunity.
“The roles also offer regular training with industry experts and the opportunity to work alongside social workers and other healthcare professionals.”
Respite carers take in a foster child for a limited time period due to things like this a family emergency, pre-planned holiday or other work commitments.
A respite carer might look after a child overnight, for a weekend, or even just after school if the foster carer is unable to get home in time.
Anyone can be one as long as they are over 21, including single people, co-habiting couples, same sex couples and people living in rented accommodation.
The only requirement is a spare room for each foster child.
For more information about respite fostering contact Five Rivers Child Care on 0345 266 0272 or visit www.five-rivers.org