We’ve all heard the term “foster care” but, truth be told, it’s a very misunderstood concept and gets a pretty poor rap. And is "respite care" even "foster care"? What is respite care?? Well we are about to debunk some myths and get to the truth of the matter.
Myth #1: Respite care leads to adoption
Um no. This is probably the most misunderstood concept of respite foster care. Respite care is not adoption.
The purpose of respite care is to support parents temporarily by helping out with caregiving of children so that their parents could focus on getting back on their feet. Everyone in our Sanctuary Care family (our respite carers and our team) is clear that the goal is to have the little one back with his or her family as soon as possible.
Unlike children given up for adoption, the parents of children in respite care are not signing away their rights to their children and we honour their rights as parents to their children. That means that, wherever possible, we ensure that children have family time with their parents at least once a week, and they go back to their parents for good within 90 days.
Read more about respite care here.
Myth #2: Respite care is the same as MSF foster care
Once again, no. There are many similarities between respite and foster care that lead to a lot of confusion. Both foster care and respite care for children are temporary solutions for both child and parent. The idea behind both kinds of care is to give a child a good home with a volunteer family on a temporary basis to allow the biological parents to get themselves back up on their feet so that they can better care for their children. Also, the ultimate goal of this arrangement is to reunite biological parents or relatives with their children once they are capable of taking full responsibility for the child again. But that is where the similarities end.
At Sanctuary Care, we take in cases that do not have child protection concerns. We help parents who would are motivated to provide the best care for their children but are hindered by life circumstances.
Also, the time frame for the care arrangement can range from just a few hours to no longer than three months. Respite care is meant to be a stop gap measure to allow for parents the time and bandwidth to make other arrangements that will ensure that their child can be with them in the long term. That is why our goal is to return the child to the parents within three months. In most cases, it’s often a lot shorter. Cases under the MSF Fostering scheme tend to last much longer.
Myth #3: There is widespread abuse in the foster care system
Handing your child over to a stranger even for a very short time is naturally a stressful transition to make. However, our respite carers go through a strict vetting process to ensure that they are able to provide a safe environment for children to live in. On top of that, our social workers work closely with our respite carer families, creating a close-knit community with the care of the children being our number one priority. Any respite carer found unsuitable will be removed from the system.
Myth #4: Respite care costs a bomb!
It's free! No really, it is a free service for those who require our help. Respite care is open to low income families. The important thing for us is to be able to support those who really need it.