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7460 Intermittent Alternate Care, Baby-Sitting, Overnight Care, and Respite Care

CPS September 2006

It is important that foster families have respite or temporary relief from child care to have personal time away from children in their care. Baby-sitting, overnight care, respite care, and Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) are used for this purpose.

Care that is provided by a person other than the foster parent with whom the child is placed must comply with the policies outlined in this section and any applicable standards listed in the Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC)

IAC is defined as care that:

  •  lasts longer than 48 hours;

  •  is provided by a person other than the foster parent; and

  •  is paid for by DFPS.

See 7461 Recipients of Intermittent Alternate Care Services.

Baby-Sitting and Overnight Care

Baby-sitting and overnight care are defined as any care that lasts up to 48-hours and is provided by an occasional or alternate caregiver who is a person other than the foster parent. These caregivers must be skilled and experienced, age appropriate, mature, and trustworthy. See Types of Caregivers, below, for additional information on caregiver requirements.

Emergency Care Instructions

The foster parents must give emergency care instructions for the child to caregivers providing baby-sitting and overnight care that state:

  •  medical and behavioral information;

  •  medication instructions (if applicable);

  •  appropriate discipline methods;

  •  eating and sleeping instructions;

  •  acceptable visitors;

  •  emergency instructions; and

  •  information on how to get in touch with the child's worker and foster parents, if needed.

Respite Care

Respite care is defined as care that:

  •  lasts longer than 48-hours;

  •  is provided by a person other than the foster parent; and

  •  is not paid for by DFPS.

The purpose of respite care is to provide relief to the primary caregiver.

The foster parents must give emergency care instructions to all caregivers who provide respite care as required by Baby-Sitting and Overnight Care, above.

Types of Caregivers

Occasional Caregiver

Baby-sitters who provide short-term or infrequent child care are considered occasional caregivers. These temporary caretakers who provide baby-sitting must be skilled and experienced caregivers. They must be age appropriate, mature, and trustworthy. Foster parents must inform DFPS of their child care plan.

Background Check: A criminal history and IMPACT child abuse and neglect check are not required for occasional caregivers, but DFPS staff may request that the caregiver have a background check completed. Background checks are assessed in the same manner as verified foster families, and the caregiver may not be used if they do not meet the background check requirements for verified foster families. If an occasional caregiver refuses or neglects to have a CPS-requested background check completed, the caregiver may not be used.

Alternate Caregiver

Alternate caregivers are baby-sitters who routinely provide child care and supervision when the foster parent is unavailable, provide respite care services, or provide IAC services.

With the exception of IAC providers, alternate caregivers must be verified foster parents or licensed day care providers, or they must meet the requirements for IAC providers and the appropriate service level indicators. Alternate caregivers must meet the same training requirements that apply to child care staff employed by foster parents.

      Background Check: For all adults identified as alternate caregivers, caseworkers must complete a criminal history and an IMPACT abuse and neglect check. These checks are assessed in the same manner as verified foster families.

Alternate caregivers who are IAC providers must meet the eligibility requirements in 7463.1 Eligibility Requirements for Providers.

Approval of Child-Care Plans

DFPS foster families discuss their child care needs with their FAD (foster/adoptive home development) worker to determine whether the foster family is in need of short-term care or alternate care. DFPS foster families must have their child-care plans approved by the children's caseworkers and FAD worker. 

The FAD worker must review the foster families' child-care plans and document the review in writing in the quarterly narratives.

7461 Intermittent Alternate Care (IAC) for DFPS-Verified Foster Homes

CPS September 2006

Foster families with children in DFPS conservatorship may receive up to 10 days of DFPS-paid IAC services from an alternate caregiver each fiscal year. The objectives of IAC are to:

  •  provide foster parents additional supports for child care responsibilities;

  •  increase the retention of foster parents;

  •  decrease the number of moves children experience; and

  •  promote the overall development and permanency needs for children in foster care.

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