More respite helps keep families together

More respite helps keep families together

04 Mar 2009

With economic uncertainty placing increasing strain on modern family life, wider use of community respite care can be critical in keeping couples together – and children with their families.

respiteTypically used by families of children with disabilities, other caregivers and foster families, US social work researcher Dr Scottye Cash says respite care can also support families in the wider community in times of stress and crisis.

‘The use of respite care in family preservation is a natural fit, but it has not been used to the extent that it could be,’ she says.  

Dr Cash, from Ohio State University, has conducted research and written extensively on child welfare, with specific emphasis on safety and risk assessment, family assessment, linking services to family needs and family preservation services.

Dr Cash next week will lead a seminar on this topic – Respite Foster Care: Its Role in Family Preservation – hosted jointly by the La Trobe University School of Social Work and Social Policy and the Respite Care Project Steering Committee.

The committee represents a consortium of five leading non-government child and family welfare agencies – Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Anglicare, Berry Street Victoria, Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and Mackillop Family Services.

La Trobe’s School of Social Work and Social Policy is academic partner to the consortium, developing an Australian Research Council grant proposal to evaluate respite foster care in Victoria.

The all-day seminar – on the University’s main Melbourne campus at Bundoora – will examine ways in which respite care is used in child welfare and other areas, give examples of how it can be used in family preservation and discuss funding options for introducing wider family respite care services in Australia.

It will be introduced by Ms Robyn Miller, Principal Practitioner, Child Protection and Family Services Branch, Office for Children of the Victorian Department of Human Services.

When: Thursday 12 March, 2009. 
Where: John Scott Meeting House,
La Trobe University, Bundoora,
(Melway ref: G6).

For interviews with Dr Cash or further information please contact the seminar organiser:
Dr Patricia McNamara
School of Social Work and Social Policy
Phone: 03 9479 5681
Email: p.mcnamara@latrobe.edu.au 

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