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“It's more than a short breaks service, it’s an extended family”: Bonnie's story

Thursday 05 August 2021
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Bonnie has been a Family Breaks Devon carer for more than seven years. She explains the life-changing difference it’s made to her, her family, and the children she supports

Bonnie's background

I’ve always worked with children and adults with disabilities, it's in my DNA. I worked in a school for children with autism and learning disabilities, I loved it.

I also have a disability myself, so I really understand and empathise with children coming to stay with me. I wanted something I could do from home and have more time with my daughter, which is why I approached Family Breaks Devon. Me and my husband are both registered carers. I’m the main carer and my husband works full-time.

Training and assessment

When we went through the assessment, we felt it was thorough, which is a good thing. It means that Action for Children are ensuring children are placed with carers who’ll keep them safe.

Action for Children are amazing at their matching process, and the matching is everything

Your social worker visits every week during the assessment. They’ll get to know the whole family and your history. For you, it’s a chance to get to know your social worker early on, and the organisation you're working with. Our whole family have been really supported by Action for Children.

Action for Children is amazing at their matching process, and the matching is everything. It must be right for the whole family.

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An extended family

To me, Family Breaks Devon gives children an extended family. It gives families a much-needed rest, and children with disabilities a chance to mix with people that they wouldn’t usually meet.

My daughter was six when I started out as a short breaks carer, she’s 13 now. When our young lady comes my daughter really looks forward to it, she absolutely loves her. My daughter likes to get involved in activities and looks forward to children coming to stay with us.

How short breaks work

When children come to stay, they will visit on different weekends and take turns to use our spare bedroom. Each child has their own bedding which we put away until the next time they stay. There’s a television in the room with a DVD player and a stereo. We also have chickens, a cat and dog which the children really like.

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"We celebrate her birthday together"

My young lady has been coming to stay with me for nearly eight years now, her mum is amazing. She’ll let her come to us on her birthday occasionally so we can celebrate her birthday together.

My young lady loves to put on a show with my daughter. They’ll do a role play to Britain's Got Talent and will dance and sing. They practice for ages and when they come downstairs to share it with us, we pretend to be the judges and make sound effects for the buzzers.

The best bit about being a short breaks carer is making children laugh

The best bit about being a short breaks carer is making children laugh. I love watching them grow and seeing them achieve. It’s satisfying when children enjoy things that you’ve organised for them. We have so much fun; we joke, and we laugh. You’ve got to be able have a bit of fun!

Get in touch

If like Bonnie, you want to open your heart and home to a child, contact us about becoming a short breaks carer.

Interested in fostering?

Request your information pack or call us on 0845 200 5162

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