Berkshire Respite Care is a way to positively impact your local community. There are children and youth at risk of being placed in foster care, or youth who currently in foster care, that need temporary care also known as respite. By joining Berkshire’s Respite Care program & becoming a certified Respite Foster Parent, you are able to partner with birth families and foster families to provide them respite and a support a child in a time of need.
For Preventative Respites, each family’s needs are different, but they all have something in common: the youth in their home are at risk of being placed in foster care. The caregiver may be a single parent needing medical treatment or a parent with substance abuse problems, and these primary caregivers are not able to identify anyone appropriate to care for their kids while they seek help. The caregivers may be grandparents who have stepped up to be the primary guardians of their grandchildren and are exhausted and need a break from time to time, and have no resources. The family dynamics may be tense, and there may be a teen who just needs space from a particular family member from time to time. The stories abound, and each one is unique. They are your neighbors, and you can make a difference in their lives.
For Foster Care Respites, the youth are currently in a foster home, but the foster home needs temporary support for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the foster parents have to go out of town and cannot take the youth with them, other times the foster parents just need a well-deserved weekend off, whatever the reason, our Respite Foster Parent are there to help out. Respites are essential to retaining and supporting our foster parents.
How long is a respite?
Depending on the youth & family’s needs & the Respite Foster Parents’ availability, the Berkshire Respite Care program connects youth with Respite Foster Parents for a short-term care. Respites can last up to 14 consecutive days, and the average respite stay is 3-4 days. We often ask for simply a respite over the weekend. Some families utilize respite only once; others need respite on a monthly basis. When a respite is reoccurring, we try to keep it with the same respite family to provide consistency for the child. Whatever the case may be, Berkshire Respite Foster Parents help keep families together by providing essential support in a time of need!
How do I Become a Respite Parent or Learn More?
The step to becoming a certified respite parent are the same for becoming a certified foster parent. In fact, while you may choose to do just respite or just long-term foster care, you will be certified for either if you change your mind down the road! We often encourage our foster parents to start off with respite as a way to ease into long term placements. Please see our steps to becoming a foster parent infographic, top 10 questions about fostering and/or fill out the interest form to learn more!