Friday, May 3, 2013

Respite Care for Foster Kids: Preparing to Do It or Receive It (Yes, Even for RAD kids!)

by John
Recently we got heard from a friend of ours who was going to be doing some respite care for a foster child who had a RAD diagnosis.  This was the first time she and her husband were going to be doing respite, and she had some questions about how to best prepare to make it a successful and smooth process for everyone.

After talking with her I realized we really hadn't covered this topic before on the blog, and although we talked to her specifically about a child with RAD, the advice really applies to any foster child.
The advice here is directed at the family that is receiving the child into the home, but if you have a child that you are sending to respite care, prepare the child and the receiving family in the same way.

How to Prepare To Do Respite for a Foster Child: 
  • Contact the people who are taking care of the child now and find out what they are using as a system of discipline and rewards.   If you can continue what they are doing, then the child wont see a difference between your home and theirs and his behavior should be the same (hopefully controllable.)
  • Have a meeting with the caregiver before the respite care date,  with the child present, at your house, to discuss any issues the child might have.  This way, the child knows that you are aware of any restrictions and rules he has to follow. By doing this in front of the child, they'll know they can't play any manipulative games with you and play you against the other foster parents.
  • During this meeting time, show the child around your home, introduce him or her to any other members of the household, including other children and allow for a little play time if possible. Talk about possible activities while the child will be staying with you to help alleviate any stress or fear the child may have about the respite visit. 
  • Show the child your own home's house rules as well, and let them know your expectations of good behavior.  Chances are you would not have any issues with the child during a short visit. This would be a typical "honeymoon" period with a foster child, and the child will most likely be on their best behavior.
  • Ask to have a written confirmation of drop off and pick up times for the child, and any scheduled activities or appointment times and locations. This way you have clear and written directions from the child's caregivers so their should be no misunderstandings. 
  • Get the name and phone number of the case worker for the child in case there are any emergencies. 
If you are Using Respite Care:

  • Be considerate: Pack your child's belongings and be sure to pack enough for each day of care plus a change of clothing if need be.  Include toys, snacks or any special care items and medications. 
  • Deliver the packed items the day before the visit if possible to make drop off easier and allow the receiving home to prepare the child's room if necessary.
 Do you have tips for preparing for respite care? Please share them here!

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  1. thanks for sharing this informative post with us about respite care of kids.

  2. We use rainbow packets...It is a collection of different colored paper (rainbow) each color contains necessary information from one home to another. One page may contain Food...likes, dislikes, preferences,eating arrangements, allergies etc, another contains daily routines, playtime.. favorite toys, interests, bathtime, bedtime..... another page emergency medical and insurance information..etc These packets are very helpful and necessary in ensuring structure and routine is in place where ever the child may be! Hope this is helpful

    1. Great idea. Thanks for sharing it! It is good to have info. like that at hand and organized.

  3. I didn't know too much about respite care until my wife brought it up. I am going to be honest, the idea of taking care of foster kids sounds like such a wonderful opportunity for people to give to their community. I think I'm going to see if my wife and I can participate in a respite care program in our area.

  4. This is a good overview of how to handle respite care. I like the tips you give with what to pack a child going to respite car. It's good to keep them in a similar environment when it comes to discipline. It's smart of you to mention that.

  5. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.
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