I have always wanted to be a foster carer, however my busy life always seemed to prevent me from looking into it.
When I was told about respite care I was very excited. I offer fortnightly weekend, overnight and school holiday respite, all which I have been easily able to do in spite of my busy lifestyle.
As a single person with no children I had concerns if I would be any good as a carer, but being a respite carer has given me the confidence to consider short-term and long-term care in the future.
As a respite carer I provide a safe place for children to have a break from their daily routine. It also provides respite for the full-time foster carer.
I look at respite care as an opportunity to show the children a fun and positive way to live.
A day in the life of a respite carer
I do regular respite care for Kate who is 13.
Our weekends start when she is dropped off on Friday night after work. We catch up on what she's been doing at school and with sports since we last met. Friday night is usually take-out night, so we decide together what to have for tea. After tea we usually test our skills at sing star and have a good laugh.
Saturday morning we head off to sport, either to participate ourselves or to watch friends. We may head to the shops for a little retail therapy if time permits. We often meet friends at the park for a picnic or, if the weather is bad, we stay home and do some craft. In the evening we may get a DVD or play board games.
Sundays are usually spent around the house, outside in the garden or we walk to the park with the dog and watch a movie in the afternoon before Kate goes home.
Kate's in long-term care with a relative foster carer and she will be there until she is 18. I guess I am more than a respite carer to Kate - I am a big sister, aunty and friend as well.
I can offer an environment where Kate can discuss everyday teenage issues, as well as offering her friendship and support.
For privacy reasons, the name of the child in this story has been changed.
Foster Care Services
Telephone: 1300 2 FOSTER (1300 2 367 837)