Every parent needs a well-earned break to rest and recharge, and foster carers are no different.
That’s when respite carers step in: to share the responsibility of caring for children and young people while also providing them with an opportunity to extend their friendship and support networks.
“It takes a village to raise a child and respite carers are a crucial part of that village,” says Amalie Mannik, Manager of Centacare’s Family Preservation Foster Care Program.
“Respite allows for the carer to rejuvenate, re-energise and replenish their resources, enabling them to maintain the quality of the care that they provide. It can prevent placement breakdowns and carer fatigue.
“In order to care for others, you also need to look after yourself.’’
Organised in partnership with foster carers, respite care is planned around maintaining the child’s regular routine.
Respite carers are carefully matched to children and long-term carers to ensure the best connections and experience for themselves, the children, and their foster families.
“I feel that I help children to acknowledge that people can connect with love and respect, creating a positive reinforcement,’’ says Carmen Polidori, a Centacare respite foster carer.
“I enjoy finding the child’s positive attachments through playing and talking. I believe respite foster care strengthens and brings out the best in a child in a positive way.’’
Respite carers undertake the same training, assessment and approval process as foster carers, and have the option of providing other forms of care, such as short-term and long-term placements.
“Respite carers are an invaluable part of the community of care that provides a consistent and stable environment for children to thrive,’’ says Leanne Haddad, Executive Manager of Children’s Services.
“Regular support and specialised training gives respite carers an understanding of the experiences of children in care, and how this affects their needs. It also helps to prepare new carers to meet the needs of children.
“Even if it’s only for one night, respite care is beneficial for children because it encourages them to forge new friendships and widens their network of familiar faces they can trust. They also get to experiences new places and opportunities.
“It brings back the neighbourhood approach to care as it takes more than one family to raise a child.’’
Centacare is seeking respite carers to join our foster care team.
A child-centred approach, flexibility, empathy, love for children and a willingness to support families is essential.
For more information on becoming a respite foster carer, phone our foster care team on 8159 1400.