Families face challenges. That’s a universal and unavoidable truth. It’s also why a healthy support system is vital to all families, especially those in need of extra love and support — like foster families. In fact, research shows that parents who foster for an extended period have a community standing alongside them.
Babysitters are often an essential part of the fostering community. In addition to the usual scheduling, chauffeuring, and shuffling required to raise children, foster parents often have additional responsibilities like extra doctor’s appointments, therapy, home visits, and court hearings. Burnout is a real possibility without babysitters offering to step in to give parents a much-needed break. As one amazing foster mom told us, “The energy to keep doing hard things is dependent on maintaining connections with my spouse and friends and participating in self-care.”
Unlike most families, foster families can’t just reach out to the high school student down the street when they need a babysitter for date night. Child care providers for foster families must complete a certified background check. This added step can often make finding appropriate child care difficult for foster families.
Becoming a certified child care provider is one of the most beneficial ways you can provide support to foster families as they embark on this rewarding, but exhausting, journey. Did you know that there are four different types of care you can provide for foster families? Each kind is characterized by the length and frequency of the care provided. Requirements can vary between foster placing agencies. The information below is based on the requirements of Upbring Foster In Texas.
Babysitting is short-term childcare which infrequently occurs and is under 12 consecutive hours. Babysitting is perfect for a date night, company outing or other adults-only events.
Overnight Care is temporary care provided for a child in foster care by someone other than the foster parents with whom the child is placed for more than 12 consecutive hours, but no more than 72 straight hours.
Long-term Respite Care providers can be used for longer-term placements and are defined as infrequent but planned round-the-clock caregivers who can be with the child for more than 72 consecutive hours and no more than 14 days with the intention to provide relief to the foster parents.
Regular Alternate Care is care provided for the child (such as by other adult household members or a daycare provider) at least four hours a day, three or more times a week and for more than nine consecutive weeks when the foster parent is not available. Regular Alternate Care is ideal for parents who work full time and need daily childcare for the children in their care.
Providing childcare for foster families in your community is a generous way to support those who have opened their homes to children in need. And, if you’re considering becoming a foster parent yourself, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to take the step, providing childcare gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the fostering process, the resources available and to see firsthand the difference you could make in a child’s life.
If you’d like to begin providing childcare for a foster family you know in your community, the best place to start is to simply ask! If a good fit, the foster parents can provide you with information on how to submit your background check or receive training through their foster agency. If you do not know a foster family and would still like to help or just learn more, please contact [email protected] and one of our knowledgeable Foster In Texas team members will be happy to give you more information.
There are also one-day trainings available in which you can receive your certification to babysit for multiple agencies at once. Age requirements for providing childcare for foster families vary by agency and type of care provided. Please check with your local certification program to learn more about specific requirements.
Fostering takes a village, and your compassion and generosity makes an enormous impact on the lives of those served through agencies like Upbring. Together, we’re working toward our mission of ending the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent yourself, we’d love to hear from you! Visit Upbring.org/FosterInfo to submit our Foster Inquiry Form.