TOLEDO — Many people don’t know what respite is, said Jennifer Schwartz, Linn-Benton Community College system of care coordinator for Lincoln County. “It’s preventative,” she explained, “intended to stabilize families.”
Respite differs from child care, which is planned and ongoing. “Respite,” said Schwartz, “is short-term care for a child that gives a parent a break. Child care can be respite, but respite is not child care.”
She added, “It serves children and parents who don’t have a natural support system.” Respite care gives parents a break, “relieving stress, reducing instances of child abuse and stabilizing families. It’s good for the whole family, and that’s good for the community.”
Usually done on a drop-in basis, often in times of crisis, Lincoln County has not had respite available until now.
Ready to provide therapeutic care, the Olalla Center at 321 SE Third St. in Toledo will offer respite for children from birth through six years old on Mondays, from noon to 3 p.m.
Relief Nursery Program Coordinator Reilly Rice said, “This has been four years in the making with community partners … within the last few months we’ve been able to move from emerging relief nursery to provisional relief nursery.”
To register, families can contact the Olalla Center at 541-336-2254. Other services provided by the relief nursery in addition to respite are home visits, skills training and parenting classes, as well as a resource closet that provides formula, diapers and other necessary items.
The Olalla Center will host an open house for the relief nursery on Dec. 23, from noon to 3 p.m.
Hoping to extend respite care in the area, Morrison Child & Family Services hosted an information session on Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Newport Recreation Center. Morrison seeks to recruit part-time respite providers in Lincoln County. Anyone interested in learning more about or becoming a respite provider, or even a foster parent, can contact [email protected] or Carrie Summers-Nomura at 503-736-6510.