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Respite for Foster Children- The Maryland Model John Bertulis Foster Parent Ombudsman Arnold Eby Foster Parent.

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Presentation on theme: "Respite for Foster Children- The Maryland Model John Bertulis Foster Parent Ombudsman Arnold Eby Foster Parent."— Presentation transcript:

1 Respite for Foster Children- The Maryland Model John Bertulis Foster Parent Ombudsman Arnold Eby Foster Parent

2 Foster Care in Maryland (stats as of ) 24 jurisdictions (including Baltimore City) 8,013 children in out of home care 6,130 are placed in family homes (76.5%) 913 are in group homes (11.4%) 2,981 public foster homes 838 homes are restricted/kinship (28%)

3 Objectives To understand the importance of respite care for children in out of home care To learn about the successes and struggles of a State’s Foster Care Respite Policy To get ideas on how to “Respite: Create It” in your own jurisdiction or state

4 Respite for Children in Foster Care Major supportive service Prevents caregiver burnout Cost effective way to preserve placements

5 Maryland Foster Care Respite Model Prior to 2005: barter system or informal respite Foster parents voiced need for paid respite Policy developed in 2005; revised in 2008 Each kinship and foster family may have 7 days of paid respite per reconsideration year Extra days determined on a case by case basis

6 Two Types of Respite Crisis/emergency (unplanned) respite for things like out of town emergencies or funerals Planned respite for things like out of town weddings or just a needed break (at least 14 days notice) $30.00 per night

7 Providers of Respite Someone the family identifies, person must be at least 21 years of age and have appropriate clearances House must pass inspection Alternative: Respite could be provided by an approved person in the home of the regular provider

8 Providers of Respite Already approved provider Win-win situation * No pre-approval needed * Good way for new providers “to get their feet wet” * Use vacant foster homes

9 Respite Preparation As much notice as possible Tell the child they are going on a vacation, be sure they realize that they are not being punished Share info about the family in advance If possible, introduce child(ren) to respite provider in advance (maybe like a play day) Pack them a special “comfort item” Reassure child that you will be back to get them

10 Respite “To Go” Kit Information about child (spelling of name, birth date, etc.) Provider’s contact info, but also doctor, social worker, after hours number, etc. Medication and administration instructions Medical card(s) and medical consent form List of daily routine, likes and dislikes, fears Instructions for scheduled appointments

11 Respite Provider Try to meet the child(ren) in advance Confirm respite dates and times in advance Be mindful that these are children in foster care because of abuse and neglect Try to keep a schedule/routine Remember medication and scheduled appointments Have fun, but don’t over do it

12 A Foster Parent’s Testimony Thoughts from a seasoned foster parent who has been there and done that

13 Maryland’s Respite Program Stalled ~ In Fiscal Year 2009: $700,000 was budgeted $ 50,000 was spent ~ In Fiscal Year 2010: $100,000 was budgeted $124,000 was spent

14 Mindset of Providers For years, foster parents were told to make the children feel a part of your family Take the foster children with you wherever you go Reluctance to use respite

15 Education on Importance of Respite Benefits to family: avoid burnout Benefits to child(ren): preserve placement

16 Another Problem in Maryland There are often delays in respite payment to providers Respite providers become disenchanted with doing respite Foster parents/kinship providers get embarrassed when their provider is not paid and they become less likely to use respite

17 Other Forms of Respite “Super Saturdays” Training opportunities You can be creative

18 AdoptUsKids Mini Respite Grants Maryland’s experience

19 Where To Go From Here Educate your foster parents about why respite is important Get your foster parents’ input: Listen to what they want Do a Respite Needs Assessment Advocate for Foster Parent/Kinship Respite to your social service agency Explore grant opportunities to help fund

20 Any Questions/Input?

21 “Respite: Create It” Enjoy the rest of your Conference!


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