Respite Care Services
Respite care provides parents and other caregivers with short-term child care services that offer temporary relief, improve family stability, and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect. Respite can be planned or offered during emergencies or times of crisis. Respite may be available to foster, kinship, and adoptive families, as well as birth families in need of support.
Use the following resources to locate community respite services, learn more about respite services for resource families and families at risk of child abuse and neglect or family disruption, and find evaluations of respite programs. Resources include State and local examples.
- For families at risk of child abuse and neglect or family disruption
- For resource families
National Respite Locator Service
ARCH National Respite Network
Allows caregivers to search for respite services by State as well as age and medical conditions of the person in need of care.
ARCH National Respite Network
Promotes the development of quality respite and crisis care programs. The website offers information on publications, conferences, evaluation initiatives, and national and State respite coalitions.
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Features a collection of publications and websites of respite care services.
Building a Statewide Respite Coalition: Where Do We Begin? (PDF - 647 KB)
ARCH National Resource Center for Respite and Crisis Care Services (2009)
Provides States and communities with tools to form a respite coalition to improve communication, coordination, and collaboration among stakeholders invested in improving respite and crisis care services.
Having a Break: Good Practice in Short Breaks for Families With Children Who Have Complex Health Needs and Disabilities (PDF - 268 KB)
Collects examples of innovative practices and promising models for providing respite services to families of children with disabilities in the United Kingdom.
Model State Lifespan Respite Programs (PDF - 42 KB)
ARCH National Respite Network & National Respite Coalition (2009)
Presents key characteristics of lifespan respite programs and discusses the efforts of four States that have established State and local infrastructures to implement these programs.
Planned and Crisis Respite for Families With Children: Results of a Collaborative Study (PDF - 283 KB)
Dougherty, Yu, Edgar, Day, & Wade (2002)
Identifies best practices in respite care and discusses barriers faced by service providers, such as funding, shortage of providers, and the location of service delivery.
Promising Practices in Respite Care (PDF - 197 KB)
Offers a slide presentation on the outcomes of a study examining promising practices in respite care for families of children with serious emotional disorders. Those practices include individualized service planning, family-centered services, flexible funding, accessibility of services, cultural competence, and collaboration across systems.
Volunteer Respite: Valuable Resources (PDF - 254 KB)
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center (2010)
Presents tips for screening, selecting, placing, and training volunteers. The factsheet also outlines ways volunteers can be utilized, provides tips for volunteer retention, and highlights national and local volunteer respite programs.
State and local examples
All About Our Special Family: A Brochure to Assist Families and Caregivers Who Are Receiving or Providing Respite Services (PDF - 90 KB)
Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network & United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley (2004)
Provides a form for parents to complete, with all pertinent information about the child in care, and give a respite provider, such as contact numbers, doctor information, house rules and daily living activities, communication skills and behavioral characteristics of the child, medical information, and competency levels.
Relax. Take a Break: A Family Guide to Respite for Children in Michigan (PDF - 307 KB)
Michigan Department of Community Health (2006)
Describes the types of respite care, helps families decide if respite is right for them, and explains how to choose and work with a respite program or provider.