Time for Kids has matched and assisted more than 5000 children and their families since 1960.
Time for Kids is a program of Relationships Australia South Australia. We match children up to 17 years, with volunteer families and individuals who willingly give their time, care and support.
Our core program of respite care, which we have been delivering for over 60 years, carefully matches children and young people through tailored placements, with individuals and families who play a significant role in their life over many years, complementing and adding to children’s existing family structures.
Through this unique program of volunteer care and support, Time for Kids opens a doorway to experiences and opportunities. This builds children’s resilience and capacity to respond more positively to the challenges that can arise in life. It empowers and equips children and young people to set alternative aspirations for their lives and to help them achieve these.
The incredible volunteer mentors and carers open their homes and hearts to children and young people, embracing them as part of their family. This helps both the children and the volunteers to build solid, meaningful relationships. The time commitment could be one weekend a month, one day per fortnight, during the school holidays or as much as the carer or mentor can provide and add value to the relationship.
We help to create more meaningful relationships that become like an extended family for children. Children and their families can rely on consistent and dependable relationships and networks.
There are opportunities to:
- experience different family relationships and dynamics
- gain other perspectives on how to tackle life’s difficulties
- have an expanded support network of family-like relationships.
Our professional team works together with our dedicated volunteer carers and mentors to establish and maintain children’s placements within the program. The team facilitate connection points and provide specialised support and monitoring along the way. Additionally, they provide training and other opportunities for carers and mentors to feel confident and have the tools to support children and young people as they journey through their stages of life.
How we work
Our services and programs at Relationships Australia South Australia are based in an understanding of the social determinants of health and operate within a public health framework. Our services and programs are designed to reduce risks to individual and family safety and strengthen protective factors, enabling improved wellbeing and social cohesion.
Our services and programs support change by:
- Developing people’s personal skills to conduct positive individual, family and community relationships and improve health and wellbeing;
- Creating supportive environments that encourage individuals and communities to address conflicts and solve problems;
- Strengthening community action using education that enables the wisdom gained from lived experience to positively impact individual and community wellbeing;
- Delivering collaborative services that build genuine multidisciplinary networks and ensure coordinated service delivery; and
- Contributing to the development of public policy and service initiatives that are evidence-informed and client-focused.
Children in the Time for Kids program receive regular respite from what are often highly stressful home environments. The children in the program experience disadvantages in their day to day lives that places them at risk of poor life outcomes. This simple, but extraordinarily powerful preventative intervention, is based on a delivery model that has been implemented since 1960.
- Agency referral of child with complex challenges
- Formal assessment of child’s eligibility and complementary supports required
- Volunteer carers or mentors are assessed and screened in preparation to be matched with a child
- Professional support to establish the caring relationship
- Professional support provided to all parties
- Regular engagement / activities between child and carer
- Placement support is provided through training, resources and advice to carers and mentors regarding the needs of each child and the development of the placement
- Information, support and referral in relation to family needs impacting on the wellbeing of the child
- Best volunteer matches tailored to the needs of the child
- Informed support and interventions in partnership with referring agency, directly matched to the needs of the child and their family
- Child’s exposure to additional alternative activities, experiences, learnings, opportunities and role models that may be lacking for them in their existing networks
- Respite from complex home environments and possible isolation from others, which can be stressful or lack nourishment for the child
- Respite for parents whilst their child is being cared for
- Early identification of and response to challenges within the home environment
- Carers proactively informed on the needs of their Time for Kids child and how best to respond to these
- Carers supported through ongoing trainings around child development, strategies, cultural awareness and trauma informed care
- Referral of families to other health and social support services as required
- Reliable and committed relationships that support children throughout their lives
- Families supported to respond constructively to the challenges of parenting, reducing the risk of family break-down and potential children’s removal into alternative care
- Child experiences a deep feeling of being cared about, due to the volunteer nature of the relationship
- Expansion of the child’s understanding of the options and pathways open to them, changing life choices and outcomes
- Child’s increased resilience and capacity for responding constructively to life challenges
- Reduced emotional stress for the child and associated risks for poor life outcomes
- Time and opportunity for parents to address the root cause of challenges impacting on family wellbeing
- Informed, capable and resilient carers and mentors, able to respond to the challenges and needs of their Time for Kids child
- Behavioural and developmental improvement for the child, supported through positive role modelling and informed assistance from their carer and mentor
- Expansion of carers’ and mentors’ understanding of the circumstances of vulnerable families and opportunities to drive positive social change
- Reduced financial hardship within the family, building their capacity to meet the material needs of their child
- Holistic support to families across all areas of need to reduce stressors and improve child and family outcomes, including family preservation.