Meet Steve and Kim
Steven and Kim became interested in foster care after managing a family daycare business for many years. They now support foster children needing weekend respite and a home away from home. Since they began providing respite care in 2008, they have taken care of many children and teens.
We sat down with them to discuss some respite foster care FAQs.
Why did you decide now was the right time to become respite carers?
Steven and Kim were at a time in their lives when they wanted to make lifestyle changes. They moved to a rural property and looked into becoming foster carers.
"Moving to a farm gave us the freedom, fresh air and opportunity to experience a better quality of life," Steven said.
"We love children and wanted to help kids feel settled and secure. We wanted them to feel that they have a network of people in their lives who would care for and support them," he said.
They looked around at local foster care agencies and decided to join a Life Without Barriers foster care session. After completing their training, Steven and Kim became respite carers.
"Out on the farm, the kids especially love it as there is so much to do. They can let go of their anxieties and have adventures in the outdoors which they may not be able to do every day." Said Kim.
What does respite care look like?
Kim and Steven provide weekend care a few weekends a month. Steven said although this may not seem like a big time commitment, it's an important support for other foster carers in the network.
"We are very conscious that both the carers and the kids we support need a break, and we are able to provide that alternative weekend away." Said Steven.
"The great thing about foster caring is the extensive support provided to the children and to us. Each child has a case worker who follows up on them regularly, and there are carer support staff who assist and guide us to ensure the best decisions are always made in the interests of the children we support.
"They also remind us to look after our own physical and emotional health, which helps make us the best carers we can be." Said Steven.
Do you have any advice for those interested in becoming foster carers?
"Please think carefully before making the commitment. We need carers who will stick it out. It's not something you do for a few days and then say ‘no, sorry, that's not for me' and leave the child feeling rejected, unloved and unwanted." Said Steven.
"Have an open mind. Be willing to keep trying something new until it finally all clicks."
"I am honoured to be able to give these children the love and care they deserve. This is such an important role!
"These kids need us, but we also must be the very best that we can be so that we don't let them down.
"Please help these kids to have healthy, happy and fulfilling lives so that they can reach their full potential."
"Create lasting memories and never give up on them."
"You also need to listen to the child and let them be the person they want to be." Added Kim.
Steven said his own lived experiences of being an 'outcast' helped him to connect with kids in care.
"As a child, I was born with a cleft palate or harelip. This meant I looked and talked differently to most other kids and didn't fit the mould of ‘normal'." He shared.
"School and life was tough at times and so I know how to talk to some of these kids about feeling like you don't fit in sometimes."
What has been a caring highlight?
"The first time you hear a child in care, who has been through a lot, really let go and laugh takes your breath away." Shared Kim.
"When you see them get their first award, trophy or prize.
"When they say, ‘that the nicest meal that I have ever eaten' or go camping together or take them to a fun park for the first time.
"I could go on and on about the joys."
Got more questions?
Our friendly and helpful fostering specialists are ready to answer your questions. Whether you're looking to start the process, get some answers or want more information, our team is waiting for you to connect.