Financial Gifts Mean Respite Support for Families

Respite program provides needed relief to local post-adoptive families

Financial gifts from the JMJ Life Center and Adopt Us Kids were recently given to Family Services of Metro Orlando in support of respite care practices for Orange and Osceola County adoptive families. Respite care is the temporary care of a child away from his or her current licensed caregiver for a limited period of time. Family Services provides respite care assistance to both foster and adoptive families.

Respite care is a best practice provided by Community-Based Care agencies because it helps stabilize families before tensions reach crisis levels. Parents can apply for respite care of their children during an emergency – such as an illness, death in the family or hospitalization, or in advance – to hire a babysitter for a parents evening out or find a safe place for the children to stay during an adults-only vacation.

Post-Adoptive Specialist Salena Norman, MSW, facilitates the Family Services Post-Adoptive Family and Youth Support Groups in each of Orange and Osceola counties.

“The fact is that raising any child can be difficult,” said Norman. “But when a child is adopted, a whole range of unexpected challenges can arise due to the child’s background. The process of creating a new family is beautiful, but these families often need special support.”

This funding is the first of its kind for direct respite support of the Family Services program. The JMJ Life Center funding came from the sale of Pro-Life license plates in Florida and will be used to provide adoptive parents who regularly attend the Osceola County Adoptive Family Support Group with respite options. The Adopt Us Kids grant – one of a limited number of grants awarded by the organization this year – will be used for respite for adoptive parents in both Orange and Osceola Counties. Along with the award, several Family Services staff will have the opportunity to attend a three-day respite training to ensure that the program grant is utilized with maximum efficiency.

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