A program that provides Northeast Iowa foster parents with some time off from the day-to-day challenges of foster parenting is looking for new volunteers.

Respite Options of Northeast Iowa has free training courses scheduled for Jan. 9 and 23 in Waverly and Feb. 6 and 20 in Dubuque. Attendance is required both days. Potential respite providers also must complete CPR and first aid training and training for Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse. All training is free for respite volunteers.

Providers must be at least 19 years of age at time of application and 20 years old to provide respite, complete an application and the certification process, and be able to make a one-year commitment to the program. 

While this is not a paid position, respite providers do receive a small stipend and help with mileage costs when they travel to do respite.

Respite Options of Northeast Iowa provides foster parents with an in-home certified care provider enabling them to get away for a day, weekend or longer vacation. Previously, they had to leave their children in another foster home when they needed to be away.


The program, which started in four counties in 2010 in partnership with Wartburg College, has since expanded to serve 23 counties in northeast Iowa. That expansion requires more respite providers to serve the additional foster families.

“We need a wider circle of providers, and we’re hoping to attract even more college students and other interested adults,” said Nancy Magnall, project coordinator.

The program expansion — including partnerships with the Luther College and Loras College social work departments — is funded through a contract with the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Persons interested in becoming certified respite providers should contact Magnall at ‪877-467-4100‪319-352-3600 or magnall_ifapa@msn.com.