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Respite care: What in the world is that? Why not you?

For eight years, my husband and I were blessed to do full-time foster care. We cared for little and big ones, playful and crying ones, verbal and non-verbal children. It was joyful and exhausting all at the same time.

We had no break for the first five years we fostered. We did not even know structured break time existed for families. If I stopped right there, you would probably understand why we were interested in providing respite care once we took a break from full-time fostering.

Taking hurting children into your home and assimilating them into your family is a blessing and a challenge. Once in a while, there is a need to leave those foster children in the care of others; in other words, have a respite time. Having respite care means you have some breathing space, an intermission, a recess, a break from the full-time care of your foster children. An unexpected illness of a family member, leaving town suddenly to attend a funeral or going on a vacation planned long before you received foster placements are several reasons to have respite care. 

Having occasional time away is critical to the well-being of your family. Even getting away for a weekend might make a world of difference and rejuvenate you to be able to provide the proper care for foster children in your home. 

Having a qualified respite provider is so comforting to foster families when they have to leave. What does a qualified respite provider look like? 

1) An individual or family who is interested in caring for foster children but not on a full-time basis.
2) Must be fully trained to care for foster children.
3) Willing to adapt to the needs of a variety of children.
4) Has the interest of foster families in mind.
5) Has the option of saying no if a request comes up that does not fit their schedule or ability to help.
6) Someone who can provide care for between three days and two weeks at a time.

Respite providers are desperately needed!

If this looks like something you would like to do, waste no time in inquiring at http://www.buckner.org/foster-care-adoption-get-started.

Shirley Campbell and her husband are respite providers for Buckner foster families in Midland, Texas. Their home has been licensed to provide foster care since 2004.

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