Respite Break Service for Kinship Carers
A story by Geeza Break
A range of respite services available to Kinship Carers – Grandparents and other extended family members in Glasgow who have sole care of their grandchildren or relatives, as a result of parental addictions. The aim is to give sole carers a break from their childcare responsibilities while at the same time offering a positive and enjoyable experience for children and young people.
What Respite Break Service for Kinship Carers did
Over the past 12 months we have provided a range of respite services for Kinship carers and the children they care for as follows:-
We have provided play sessions at our October, Easter and, Summer TOFFEE Club for children being cared for by Kinship Carers. The session took place in St Mungo Academy in the East End of Glasgow and in other Out of School Play providers premises Glasgow wide.
During the day which starts at 10am the children are involved with lots of fun activities, making new friends, learning new games, dressing up, arts and crafts, physical activities such as badminton, football, giant skittles, hockey, netball, tennis and team games focusing on health and fitness as well as trips for example to the Science Centre, out door Play, soft play and the Sand Park. They also receive visits from the Animal Man, Puppet Man and Working dogs for people with disabilities.
At lunch time families provide a healthy pack lunch and at break times fruit and water are available morning and afternoon. By the time 3pm comes the children have had fun playing, learning, and have been safe and happy throughout the day.
The number of Toffee Club and Out of School sessions offered to Kinship Children 198 x 5 hour sessions = 990 hours
The number of children supported: 32
The number of Kinship carers supported: 24
Respite Sitter Service: Children/young people were cared for in their own home during the day, evenings and weekend for up to 4 hours per session by fully vetted and trained sitters who are employed on a sessional basis. The sitters spend quality time with the children/young and provide age appropriate learning and personal development activities to encourage growth in each child/young person. The sitter also introduces positive parenting routines in the household and can accompany children/young people to activities such as swimming and clubs.
We delivered 88 sessions which equated to 402.5 hours. Some of the sessions were 5 hours and 9 sessions were 8 hours i.e double respites (where 2 Respite Sitters were required because of the number of children) 13 children supported and 7 Kinship Carers
After School Places: We did not provide any After School Service places because there were no emergency situations but we did provide a further 18 sessions of the Toffee Club.
Respite Care: We delivered 6 overnights totaling 110.5 hours to 3 children. The children were cared for in the homes of fully vetted and approved carers. This service gives children a positive family experience and helps to improve their confidence, self-esteem and social interaction skills as well as providing respite to the Kinship Carer.
During the various respite sessions the Kinship Carers have had a break, done the shopping, cleaned the house, met with friends, read a book, went to the bingo, gone for coffee and/or lunch. We ensured that all of our main contacts in the key agencies we work with were aware of our increased capacity to offer respite breaks to Kinship carers including those who deal with families who self refer as well as teachers in primary schools, social work offices and community organisations. We also print some flyers for display in GP surgeries, health centres and, social work offices.
2 volunteer Respite Carers were involved in delivering the overnight care.
Actions – to provide a respite sitter once a fortnight and TOFFEE Club for both children. Aims Agreed – For the family – to give G an opportunity to have some time for herself to get some shopping done / housework done/attend Carers Group meeting and have some time with friends to go for lunch/dinner and go back to the bingo which she loves but had to give up. For the children – to increase confidence, improve self-development, enable them to have fun; to experience positive play and mix with other children.
Outcomes Achieved – G has reported that the respite so far has been of huge benefit to her as she has been able to meet up again and spend time with a group of friends at the bingo and have a laugh. She has also been able to meet up with a friend she had not seen for a long time for lunch and the cinema and had some time to enjoy reading again and going to the library as well as getting every day chores dealt with especially shopping which can be quite stressful with the 2 boys. She also reported that the children have really enjoyed themselves at the TOFFEE Club and are excited to go and also enjoy time with the respite sitters and enjoy all the games and one-to-one attention. Overall this has helped the family relationship,
Actions – to provide a respite sitter once a fortnight; TOFFEE Club for child 1 and referral made to the Kinship family support worker for H. Aims Agreed – For the family – to give H an opportunity to have some time for herself to get some shopping done / visit her own mother and to reduce her stress levels. For the children – to increase confidence in child 1 and for all 3 children, to improve self-development, to enable them to have fun; to experience positive play.
Outcomes Achieved – H has reported that the respite so far has been of huge benefit to her as she has been able to spend some quality time with her own mother without having the children there. She has been able to go and get her hair done. A few trips up town just to browse around in peace for a few hours and a relaxed coffee. Child 1 is not as withdrawn as she was and all 3 children get excited when they know the respite sitter is coming to spend time with them.
Actions – to provide overnight respite for child 2 on a fortnightly basis on a Friday and provide weekly respite on a Thursday. Aims Agreed – For the family – weekly respite every Thursday to give L an opportunity to spend quality one to one time with child 1 therefore helping to improve family relationships. By providing overnight respite for child 2, L will have an opportunity to get a full night sleep therefore reducing stress and enable her to sustain her caring role. For the children - to improve self-development, enable them to have fun; to experience positive play.
Outcomes Achieved - L reported that the overnight respite has been a god send. Just being able to get a full nights sleep has made all the difference to her and it definitely reduces her stress levels. She also reported that she was able to have some time to get her nails done, get shopping and housework done in peace, watch a film on TV in peace and in general just be able to do what she wants for a few hours.
The Thursday evening respite gave L and her son child 1 some time together alone - they were able to go bowling, visit the park and play football, go to MacDonalds and sometimes just play games together in another room. Child 2's social skills have improved and he now sleeps through the night even with the carer. He is not upset when the carer collects him - we have been able to get child 2 a nursery place and link the family to the Kinship Family Support Work.
What Geeza Break has learnedGeeza Break is confident that our play provision through the Toffee Club fosters children’s independence and self-esteem as well as developing children’s respect for others. Our play provision also supports the children’s well-being, healthy growth and development and increases knowledge and understanding and promotes creativity and the capacity to learn.
There was a heavy demand for places at the Easter, summer and October Toffee Clubs. The holiday periods seem to be the most stressful times for Kinship carers and the funding from Shared Care Creative Breaks has allowed us to provide additional respite for the Kinship carers.
We have been able to offer Kinship carers a choice of respite to best meet their needs including Respite Care, Respite Sitting and TOFFEE Club which provides a more tailored and personalized service. In some instances the Kinship Carer may receive all services. Having a choice of different respite sessions such as an over night gives kinship carers a good break and it is important to meet differing needs of all service users.