Respite Care Provides Critical Support for Youth and Families in Foster Care

Last updated: August 26, 2022, at 2:38 p.m. PT

Originally published: August 25, 2022, at 8:07 a.m. PT

foster dad and youth hanging out

Thinking about becoming a foster parent can be confusing and overwhelming. How do you get licensed? What options are available, and what type of foster parenting is best for you? If you are not ready to become a long-term care provider, respite may be the answer. 

“Respite” provides youth care from as little as one day up to two weeks at a time. It allows foster parents with a long-term placement to rest, vacation, attend overnight events, or whatever they wish to do with their free time. All licensed foster parents with the Y qualify for two days of respite per month that can be used each month or saved to take a longer break at later date.  

Respite care is a great alternative for those with busy schedules who are unable to commit to a long-term placement. All foster parents with the Y start off as respite care givers to gain skills needed to eventually become a long-term foster parent if they so choose. When Kaitlin Adams, a Y licensed foster parent, was looking into the process of licensing, she thought full-time foster parenting was the only option, but soon learned that there are lots of ways to help including respite care. Many licensed foster parents choose to only provide this form of foster care.  

When Adams was a child, her mother, who was an occupational therapist, provided respite to a client once a month. This experience helped Adams to understand providing a helping hand as a respite care giver is a critical service. She also believes that for those not familiar with respite care, it may not be clear how important these providers are and how desperately they are needed. The demand for those willing to provide these short-term placements so full-time parents can have much needed time to themselves is considerable. 

When you provide respite care to a youth, you not only gain new skills and experiences, but a chance to share a hobby or passion of yours with that youth. Often respite will be over the weekend giving you more time to share common interests, allowing you to build a stronger connection with that youth. Many foster parents licensed through the Y have built strong relationships by providing continuous respite care over time for the same youth and families. This offers a more stable environment for the youth and allows care givers to work together to accommodate busy schedules. 

If you are looking to be involved in foster parenting and supporting youth in care, respite through the Y is the perfect way to get started. Learn More >