Juggling work and home life can be tricky without the support of family and friends.

When life gets busy for foster families, respite carers step in.

“In many ways, they are the backbone of the foster care system,’’ says Kirsty Drew, Executive Manager, Family Outreach and Relationship Services.

“They provide backup support to full-time foster parents and give them the time they need to nurture their own wellbeing, safe in the knowledge their foster child is being cared for by a familiar face.’’

Centacare is now recruiting respite carers, aged 25 to 70 years, to host children for short-term stays, such as on weekends, during school holidays and, sometimes, at late notice.

“If a full-time foster parent falls ill, they need to have the flexibility of someone to call on to help out,’’ Kirsty says.

“At the same time, respite care gives children and young people an opportunity to forge meaningful relationships outside of their foster home, as they experience new adventures in the company of others.’’

Centacare provides the training, assessment and ongoing support required to become a respite carer, and there are no out-of-pocket costs.

Respite care is a good way to start for people who want to help vulnerable children aged 0 to 12 but are unable to make a full-time commitment.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, retired, or employed full or part-time, if you have room in your heart and home, consider becoming a respite carer,’’ Kirsty says.

For more information on becoming a respite foster carer, visit our Foster Care website’s information sessions page, or phone the foster care team on 8159 1400.