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Foster Parent’s Guide to Who Can Provide Care

March 1, 2018

Sometimes children need a break from their daily routine. Activities, time with their birth family, and friends can build a child’s self-esteem and reduce the stress of separation from their birth family. It’s important for you, as a foster parent, to take a break too! Breaks can provide time to recharge, regroup, and refocus which all help prevent burnout.

Foster parents can exercise the reasonable and prudent parent standard to identify an informal care provider for up to seven consecutive days of care. If a child will be with another caregiver for seven to 13 days, that caregiver must be approved through the agency. In both instances, foster parents can select other individuals who they know, trust, and believe will provide a safe place for their foster children. Foster parents may also access formal respite caregivers that are approved foster homes.

Below is a chart comparing requirements between informal and formal respite care providers. As a reminder, please keep your child’s worker informed of the child’s whereabouts when utilizing other caregivers.

Comparing Requirements Between Informal and Formal Respite Care Providers

RequirementInformal CareAlternate
Respite Care Provider
Time limitLess than eight days*Less than fourteen daysLess than fourteen days
Reasons for useDate night, before or after school care, weekends away, etc.Unexpected emergencies, out-of-state family events, etc.Short-term break
Age requirement18 years old*21 years old21 years old
Background check requiredNo – foster parent discretionYesYes
House assessment completed by DHS/AgencyNoYesYes
Provider approved by DHS/agency for careNoYes – specific
requirements are met
Yes – fully approved foster family
Approval needed by DHS/agency prior to useDHS homes – No
Agency homes – Yes*
ReimbursementFoster parent discretion
or vouchers, if available
(for DHS families only)*
Foster parent discretion
or vouchers, if available
(for DHS families only)*
Refer to agency for details
Existing relationship with foster familyYesYesNot required
Examples of providersFriends, church members,
neighbors, relatives
Friends, church members,
neighbors, relatives
Fully approved foster family

*Refer to agency for additional details.

DHS Pub. No. 18-10 Issued 3/2018 Issued 3/2018 This publication is authorized by Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Ed Lake and printed by DHS in accordance with state and federal regulations at a cost of $27.40 for 50 copies. Copies have been deposited with the Publications Clearinghouse of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. DHS offices may request copies on a 23PU114E order form via the print shop. Members of the public may obtain copies by downloading a copy at OKDHS Library.