2022 Edition

Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (CA-FKC) 22: Respite Care

Respite care reduces caregiver stress, promotes the stability of placements, and ensures child safety and well-being. 




Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Respite care planning procedures
  • Respite model(s) including the number of children permitted in respite care homes
  • Respite caregiver assessment procedures
  • Contracts and service agreements with respite care providers, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Respite caregivers
    4. Resource parents
  • Review case records


CA-FKC 22.01

The organization collaborates with resource families to develop a written respite care plan that is regularly reviewed, and addresses:

  1. available respite care resources;
  2. frequency and duration of respite care; and
  3. approved respite caregivers.


Respite care plans for children in treatment foster care should be developed as part of treatment planning and reviewed at least quarterly. 

Examples: Respite care planning can include helping resource families to identify individuals within their own support network, or the child’s network, to designate as approved respite caregivers. 

Respite care plans may also incorporate developmentally-appropriate normalcy activities, such as recreational activities or sleepovers.

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 22.02

The organization approves respite care homes based on an assessment of the caregiver’s capacity to meet the child’s individualized needs, including:

  1. respite duration;
  2. the number and the needs of other children in the respite care home;
  3. ability to respect and support the child’s culture, race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation;
  4. relationship to the child;
  5. appropriate skills or training to provide therapeutic or medical care, when necessary; and
  6. sleeping accommodations appropriate to the child’s age, gender, and any special needs, when providing overnight respite. 


 Regarding element (b), generally, the number of children in respite caregiver homes should not exceed five children in total and also should not contain more than:

  1. two children under age two;
  2. four children over age 13; and 
  3. two foster children in treatment foster care.

Exceptions may be made for short-term stays, or to support connections to siblings or kin, depending on the respite caregiver’s capacity and experience, and the child’s safety or treatment plan. 


CA-FKC 22.03

Respite caregivers:

  1. are familiarized with the child's daily routines, preferred foods and activities, and needed therapeutic or medical care; 
  2. provide enriching activities appropriate to the child's interests, age, development, physical abilities, interpersonal characteristics, culture, and special needs; and
  3. work with resource parents to plan for children’s continued participation in any therapeutic, educational, or employment activities, when applicable. 


Organizations that do not provide respite care in their own resource family homes must ensure that relevant information about the child is communicated to the respite care program to ensure appropriate care, and monitor the child's and resource family's satisfaction with the respite caregiver. 

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 22.04

When respite care is provided in response to a crisis, the organization provides needed developmentally, culturally, and age-appropriate interventions to help children cope with trauma or stress associated with the crisis.
NA The organization does not provide respite care in crisis situations.

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 22.05

When children in respite care experience accidents, health problems, or changes in appearance or behaviour, information is promptly recorded and reported to the resource parents and administration, and follow-up occurs, as needed. 

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 22.06

Respite caregivers return children only to the resource parents, or another person approved by the resource parents, and follow procedures for situations that pose a safety risk or when a child requires protection.
Examples: Protocols may include directions on how to engage community resources such as law enforcement or cab companies when individuals pose a safety risk, such as when individuals are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, mentally or physically unstable, or present another safety concern.