Respite carers give full-time foster carers or birth families at risk of breakdown a vital break from their responsibilities.
As a former teacher, Bec knows the importance of this time-out.
The Natimuk resident has been a foster carer with Uniting for 3 years.
“A friend of mine was caring for a young girl and she mentioned that I should look into emergency and respite care,” says Bec.
“I’ve worked with children most of my life as a teacher and in various other roles.
“I’ve made the choice not to have children of my own because I enjoy my independence, but I’ve always enjoyed being around children.”
Throughout her foster care journey, Bec has cared for nearly 20 children.
“Every couple of months I’ll take in a child or sibling group for a weekend or a week at a time,” she says.
“It’s a good fit for me because I like to do my own thing, but I don’t mind putting that on hold when I have the children in my care, because it’s so worthwhile.
“Plus, I’ve been able to take some of the kids out camping and hiking, which has been fun.”
Bec says one on the benefits of foster caring is building new social connections and strengthening ties with friends who have children.
“It can be challenging and it’s important to have a good support network of family and friends around you when things get tough,” she says.
“But it’s also really rewarding.
“I remember caring for siblings for a weekend and a few months later they came back into my care and when they got out of the car, they were so excited to see me. That was a really lovely feeling.”