In a very well planned and executive brainstorming session, the Realities for Children staff culled an extensive amount of information from Larimer County respite and foster care providers.

Lead by Craig Secher, Executive Director, and Tanya Witt, Partner Agency and Youth Program Manager, the event was a fast-paced 90 minute experience for 26 respite and foster care agencies in Northern Colorado. The overwhelming focus was on the future of care and how we can support more families to get involved.

With a concern for tired caregivers, many of the participants brought innovative, unique and truly thoughtful ideas to the table which caused the group to quickly identify the depth and breath of need in the respite community. Many foster parents are not willing to send their kids to an overnight respite caregiver but more likely to accept a few hour “break” while their kids participate in meaningful experiences with trusted caregivers.

While representing Kids at Heart, I shared our concern for reaching more families, creating on-demand services and expanding our reach in Northern Colorado.

A central theme emerged around the concept helping families with non-child focused duties like home repairs, landscaping maintenance, grocery shopping and cleaning. While these are not typical services provided by State agencies, the idea stems from the importance of parents being caregivers and they would have more time for attending to the needs of children in their home if someone was serving as a “helper” for the other duties.

One agency is working on a database that would allow parents to submit their request and service provides could sign-up to help.

No decisions were made but each agency contributed significantly to the dialog and more details will be coming soon.