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What is Respite Care?

Respite foster care is defined as temporary planned alternative childcare that lasts longer than 72 hours but less than two weeks. A family who does respite foster care is willing and able to care for a child in foster care for a short period of time. One example is emergency respite, where you care for a child who has just entered the foster care system while DSS completes their investigation and searches for potential kinship placements.

Respite care can also be used as a support for current foster parents. Sometimes it is necessary for kids in foster care to stay with a respite family while the foster family deals with a health issue or family emergency, or if there are vacations or family plans that the foster child is unable to participate in for some reason. Respite care can be an amazing blessing for foster families.

Thornwell encourages the use of respite care to reduce caregiver stress and promote stability of placements. The stresses of being a foster parent can be overwhelming at times. Having the option to take a break can be refreshing and recharging for foster parents and allow them to better love on and provide for the kids in their care.

Respite care can be a touchy subject for foster parents. Some foster parents welcome the opportunity to take a step back and recharge their batteries or connect with their family. Other folks believe that kids in foster care should be treated like any other kid in your family, so it’s not fair to the child to place them with a different family, if only for a short time.

I believe that foster parents, like all parents, deserve a break every once in a while. As soon-to-be adoptive parents, we find great value in friends who are willing to watch our boys for an afternoon or a weekend so we can reconnect and refresh. It helps our mental health and our patience in dealing with the everyday stresses of parenting. If you are a foster parent, consider respite. It’s okay to ask for help. If you are not a foster parent, consider becoming licensed as a respite family. It can be a great introduction to foster care if you’re considering it, and it can also be a huge blessing to those around you who are already fostering. Getting licensed as a respite foster care home is a very similar to the regular foster care licensing process. Ask us how you can get started!

Contact Us

Please call 864-938-2100 or complete the form below to begin your foster care journey or to ask how we can help you with foster care.

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