Relief Foster Parenting

Many families would like to offer their love and support to a foster child without giving up one person’s career or salary, or without a full-time commitment. Relief foster parenting is an excellent option. This is also the process by which homes become full-time within our agency.

The Importance of Relief
  • Regular relief is provided once every
    six weeks.
  • A relief weekend is usually 48 hours.
  • Each full-time foster family responds to fostering in their own unique way.
  • Each family has to deal with the stress of ongoing family life, plus the addition of a child in transition with behavioural and emotional needs and issues.
  • Relief is a way of regenerating the
    entire family.
  • It also gives the foster child a chance to enjoy another family environment and build additional therapeutic relationships.
The Relief Home Relationship: 
  • Ideally, the relief home is consistent and relief occurs every six weeks on a
     continuous basis.
  • This allows the child a chance to get to know the family, and allows the relief family a chance to accommodate the child.
  • Relief weekends can be a break from the
    full-time home for the child, where he/she may feel the stress of working on issues.
  • Relief weekends can and should be FUN
    and RESTFUL for the child and the relief home family.
Carpe Diem feels the relief home is an important part of the foster child’s treatment plan. While preserving the full-time foster home, relief is also a way of giving everyone a chance to get some space and relax ~ very much like an overnight at a favourite aunt or uncle’s home, or a visit to grandma for the weekend. It is a wonderful experience for foster children to develop an extended relationship with their relief home.
It is important, therefore, that the relief home and the foster home communicate clearly and sensitively with one another. Sometimes an element of competition or jealousy enters into the adult relationships - only the child suffers if this goes unchecked. Foster and relief homes work best together when there is an element of trust and respect between them: that is only built through communication.

There are times when children ‘honeymoon’ at a relief home; that is, the relief home may not see a lot of the negative acting out that occurs within the full-time home. While it is tempting to believe that this is due to the expertise of the relief home, most often it is because the child is able to put the ‘emotional’ work to rest for the weekend - thus, less behaviour! It is also seen as a fun weekend to go on ‘overnights’.

Please note that we DO NOT refer to these weekends as ‘relief’ with the children. Also, the driving back and forth is shared between both homes and is not reimbursed.

Please see the section on Process and Requirements for more information.
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