- June 2002
- Vol. 3, No. 5
Respite Care: Help for Families Who Adopt Children with Special Needs
Reduced stress and improved family relationships--those are a few of the benefits adoptive families can expect when they get a break from caring for their special needs children. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse has recently released a report, which synthesizes outcomes and lessons learned from eight Adoption Opportunities discretionary grant projects funded under a respite care priority area. Other Adoption Opportunities post-legal adoption services grant projects have included respite care as part of grant activities.
In its funding announcement, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) defined respite care as temporary care for the children that can provide a break for the families from the daily demands of caring for their children or respite during times of emergency. The eight projects reviewed in this synthesis took place in various regions of the country and represent a portion of the 19 respite care projects funded between 1990 and 1995.
The report summarizes the projects' components including methods for recruiting and training respite care providers, methods for recruiting families to participate, and types of respite services provided. One of the challenges noted for many projects was families' reluctance to use the services. This reluctance was based on families' lack of knowledge about the services, concerns about strangers caring for their children, and concerns that use of respite care may be perceived by others as an indication of inadequate parenting abilities.
Accomplishments noted by various programs include:
- Recruiting and training more than 130 respite care providers
- Filling a gap in needs for service by including foster-adopt families who were otherwise ineligible for services
- Developing a training manual for respite care providers and families
- Contributing to passage of State legislation providing an infrastructure for statewide respite services.
Recommendations from the project staff include educating families about the nature of respite care services and targeting services to identified needs of families.
Access a copy of the report online at: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/h_respite.cfm
Print copies available from:
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (703) 352-3488 or (888) 251-0075
Fax: (703) 385-3206
The May 2002 issue of Children's Voice, the bimonthly magazine of the Child Welfare League of America, features an article that provides a national perspective on respite care for people caring for children with special needs, as well as promising approaches in Oklahoma, Arizona, Michigan, and Florida. Access the article online at: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0205carecaregivers.htm.
For more information about respite care, visit the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center website at http://www.chtop.com/ARCH/index.htm. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)