We had “Blake” for respite for father’s day.
“Blake” has hiss 2 regular respite carers and a new back up respite carer couple as there was a weekend we couldn’t have him. With 3 respite placements MM and I have decided he doesn’t need us anymore, he needs as few placements as possible, and as he can’t be placed with other children and we are looking at a short term placement with a baby, he won’t be able to stay with us anyway. The father’s day weekend was coming up and his respite carer due for that weekend was unable due to family commitments, his other respite carer was unable no reason given and the new back ups, one of them was out of state for the weekend so they couldn’t. So, when asked, I said yes. I can’t allow little “Blake” to go to yet ANOTHER placement.
I’d mentioned to his carers support worker that it was the fathers day weekend and did they REALLY need respite that weekend as I believe kids need to be with their families for special weekends. She said she would check, and apparently they did.
Poor little man. You should have seen his face when he realised he was not going to be home for Father’s Day. We tried to cheer him up by saying we were happy he was with us, but, you could see, he really just wanted to be home.
We had a hassle free weekend with “Blake”, even bath time was relatively stress free.
As a gift from Papa for his last respite weekend with us he scored Papa’s old Akubra hat and went home looking like a little farmer.
I will be putting in a recommendation to his social worker that if respite falls on a special weekend…mother’s day, father’s day, Easter, his birthday, that respite be moved. Maybe he could be home that weekend and he could then have respite 2 weekends in a row. We had “Blake” for both Easter and father’s day and we were scheduled to have “Kelly” for her birthday (fortunately her grandfather came from interstate for the weekend for her birthday so respite was cancelled). In my mind these are special family times and these little people should be home with their families, strengthening those attachment bonds rather than sending them away.
Do families need respite? Yes, absolutely.
Do the children respite? Yes, they do too. “Kelly” needs time with a ‘mum’ figure, and “Amber” needed some quiet time and I think even “Blake” benefits from having that one on one time.
But, does respite need to be on special occasions?
Don’t get me wrong, I loved having “Blake” for Easter and getting the opportunity to be the Easter Bunny, and I had a party planned for “Kelly’s” birthday, but, I feel badly for these children. I can’t imagine how they must feel about coming to respite for special occasions.
It has me feeling very conflicted. I know that respite is important for carers so they can recharge their batteries and that respite helps keep the placement intact, but I also wonder how it effects the children when it’s a special weekend.
What do you think?