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
The ABCs of Respite: A Consumer Guide for Family Caregivers (PDF - 420 KB)
Arch National Respite Network and Resource Center (2017)
Provides guidance to family caregivers on assessing personal need for respite and accessing available services, including potential funding sources.
Annotated Bibliography of Respite and Crisis Care Studies
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center (6th ed.) (2022)
Summarizes peer-reviewed journal articles that provide a baseline understanding of respite research and focus on outcomes attributed to respite. The studies included documented outcomes of respite care for family caregivers, care recipients, families or communities, including cost-benefit studies.
Providing Respite: Supporting People and Families Across the Lifespan (PDF - 3,072 KB)
Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2014)
Provides information on respite programs, how to become a respite provider, and family caregiving for children or adults across the lifespan.
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2017)
Describes respite care and links to a fact sheet, a step-by-step guide, and a best-practices guide related to respite programs.
What is Respite Care?
Comfort Keepers (2015)
Explains respite care as a resource for family caregivers and provides information on kinds of respite care, how to find respite care, and how caregivers should care for themselves to prevent burnout.
ARCH State Respite Coalitions: A Compendium of Fact Sheets
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center (2017)
Provides State-specific factsheets to educate prospective members, family caregivers, and policymakers about the Respite Coalition resources they have in their own States.
Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
Explains Planned Respite, a program in Tennessee that helps caregivers of children with serious emotional disturbance learn the skills necessary for getting respite care. The program teaches caregivers how to find respite care and how to train those providers to successfully care for their children.
Connecticut State Department of Children and Families
Presents an overview of respite care services provided to caregivers of children in Connecticut whose emotional and/or behavioral special needs require constant attention from their caregivers. The program provides respite care services that are community-based and help these children make the transition to adulthood.
Shiloh House (2018)
Offers a nurturing and safe environment for youth in foster care to serve as respite for Colorado families and prevent the disruption of placements for youth who may be at risk of being removed from their families or who are already placed in foster care.