Planned and Emergency Respite Care provides a continuum of services from planned temporary relief for the primary caregiver of children with disabilities or chronic illness to emergency respite or crisis care for children at risk of abuse or neglect. Such emergency respite provides a temporary safe haven for the child. At the same time, the parent or guardian seeks assistance with an emergent problem, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or a housing, personal health, or job crisis.
CBCAP captures this definition as “short term care services provided in the temporary absence of the regular caregiver…to children who are in danger of abuse or neglect, who have experienced child abuse or neglect, who have disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses. Such short term care is provided within or outside the child’s home… and is intended to enable the family to stay together and to keep the children living at home and in the community.”
Respite and crisis care programs (often referred to as “crisis nurseries” or “crisis respite”) rarely operate in isolation, but rather as a critical component of comprehensive family support services or child abuse prevention strategies. These programs are intended to alleviate social, emotional, and other stresses on caregivers and may offer an array of support services. These services might include individual, family and support group counseling, substance abuse prevention and treatment, sibling care, case management, parenting classes, and information and referral.
In a family support services survey, 82% of the families who use respite and crisis care services responding to the survey identified respite as a critical component of family support. Respite services are not costly and are an investment that can reduce family stress and the abuse that may result. Consumer satisfaction surveys indicate respite contributes to healthy marriages, keeps children safe, reduces out of home placements, and enhances family well-being.
For more information about Respite Care, visit ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center at www.archrespite.org.