The thing about foster care, just like any other organization, is that it’s full of weird terms that no one’s ever heard of and no one knows what they mean. In order for us to be an effective ministry, we don’t want people looking at us wondering what we’re saying and what we mean because we’re using foreign words.
Here recently we’ve been talking a lot about Respite Care. I know there are many people out there going, “OK, what in the world is respite and how is it different than fostering?”
Let’s begin with a sad, but real statistic: A foster family is considered “veteran” after just a few years because the burnout is SO HIGH.
Families get overwhelmed and they get to a point when they feel like there’s no relief. Think about it, when you’re having a stressful week with the kids or at work, you can take comfort in knowing that the little darlings are going to Grandma’s for the weekend. You get a break!!! Yay!
However, for a foster family that’s not always an option. Foster families are supposed to have a few people labeled as Foster Family Support who are certified to watch the kids for a few hours or a day or two. Sadly, a lot of foster families don’t have people who are able/willing to play this role and they never get that much needed break.
That’s where respite is supposed to come in. A family who is certified for Respite Care is a family who has gone through the process of becoming a foster family, but they only have children in their home when they’re relieving another family. Respite families do not have their own foster children, they help other families get some relief.
What does that look like?
Basically, this is how it works:
A foster family is planning on taking a vacation for a weekend, but they don’t plan to take the kids. That foster family would contact their caseworker and get in touch with a respite family to keep the kids for the weekend while the foster family is away. If the respite family is available and wants to, they will keep the kids for the weekend and then send them back to the foster family when they get home.
Another scenario is that a foster family has had a death in the family and they need a week to themselves. They would talk to the caseworker and connect with a respite family that is willing to take the children for the week.
How do you become a respite family?
The process to become certified to do Respite Care is the same as becoming a foster family. The adults in the house must fill out background checks, complete the 30-hours of PRIDE Training, and participate in a home study.
You can talk to any foster family and know that this is a HUGE need. As of right now we have 28 foster homes and only 2 homes certified for respite.
If fostering is not something you’d want to do on a full-time basis, but think this is a great way your family could help then come to an informational meeting. Check out our Calendar page or Facebook page to see when our next meeting is and dive right in!