Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Respite Care

I have a good excuse for my recent lack of posts: I have been on VACATION in Hawaii celebrating our Tenth Anniversary, which, incidentally, brings me to the topic of this post.

respite: (ˈres-pət): an interval of rest or relief

Q: What happens when a foster family wants to go on vacation?  Do they take their foster children with them?

A: It depends on where they are going- if they are in the same state no big deal but if they are going out of state they have two options:

  1. Take their foster child with them after getting permission from the child's birthparents and the child's caseworker and/or guardian ad liteum, (because technically speaking, traveling out of state with a child who is not legally one's own is "kidnapping").
  2. Use Respite Care

Q: What happens when foster parents need someone to watch their foster child because they want to have a date night or a weekend getaway?

A: Anytime a foster parent is not with their foster child, the foster child can only be watched in a licensed foster home (which has undergone health & safety checks) OR by another foster parent.  Therefore, if my husband and I want to go out on a date night we could:

  1. Get a babysitter to watch our foster children in our home but we wouldn't be able to just drop him off at say, a family member's house or a neighbor's house (unless, of course, they are licensed foster care providers).  That is why it's good for foster families to get to know other foster families in their area so that should the need arise they can
  2. Use Respite Care with another foster family
In the state of Utah foster parents are able to use one day of respite care a month not to exceed 12 days of respite in one year.  Or if they choose, they can "save up" days for extended periods of time such as vacation.

We never used respite care for our first two placements but we used respite care twice with this placement: one day earlier this year when I was sick and most recently when we went on vacation.  We figured that since we were not only going out of state but going overseas as well it would be easiest (and more of a vacation) to leave Christian behind so while we were gone he stayed with another foster family who lives less than a mile from us.


Amy said...

Very informative. I never even thought about these situations before. Thanks for bringing attention to this topic.

Unknown said...

I've always wondered what exactly was involved in respite care for foster children. My wife and I would like to go on vacation to get away for a while, but it would be nice to have some time for ourselves. Respite care sounds like a good way to make sure that our foster children are taken care of while we're away.