Providing Respite Care for Indigenous Children and Youth

Press Release

September 20, 2022

As we approach the second inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2022, the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) is calling on the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities of Greater Vancouver to support families involved with the agency by providing respite care for Indigenous children and youth.

Respite caregivers temporarily provide care for a child whose biological family needs a break from their daily parenting responsibilities. VACFSS supports families with respite care as a part of its restorative practice approach to address the intergenerational trauma from the legacy of residential schools.

“Respite care undoubtedly reduces the risk of children coming into foster care by providing parents with a necessary break as part of their healing journey,” says Gavin O’Toole, VACFSS Resources Manager.

For thousands of years, Indigenous communities successfully used traditional systems of care to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. Indigenous Peoples have endured the devastating effects of colonization, and Indigenous Peoples continue to be marginalized by colonial systems, legislation, and policies.

VACFSS is strongly committed to having children be cared for by members of the Indigenous community to promote the child’s sense of identity and belonging. Respite caregivers work inclusively with the child’s biological family and community. Caregivers help to connect the child with their Indigenous community and culture, strengthening children’s Indigenous identity by helping them learn about their history, and related cultural practices and remain connected with extended family and community.

In compliance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) five Calls to Action for child welfare, VACFSS has implemented restorative practices while fulfilling the obligations of the CFCSA. Examples include respite care, the Inclusive Foster Care policy, the Concrete Needs Support policy, and the Out-of-Care Options program.

To learn more about inclusive caregiving, register for an information session by clicking HERE or emailing


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