Frequently Asked Questions
Parents raising children who have experienced trauma or who have disabilities often face significant parenting challenges. Children and youth may also need a break from their parents, especially if their parents are stressed or if the children are feeling pressure being part of a new family. Although everyone in the family may need a break, it can be difficult for parents to find appropriate, skilled child care providers who can give parents and children time apart safely. Respite care—whether planned or for crisis situations— provides a needed rest for both parents and children and can take many forms. In some cases, respite programs give children the chance to build relationships with other children in adoptive, foster, and kinship families and to participate in meaningful activities that increase their skills.
Although respite care can come in many forms, it can be helpful to think about two broad categories:
1. Planned respite — This service provides planned short-term relief necessary to enhance caregivers’ ability to parent the child or youth successfully.
2. Crisis or emergency respite — Families or caregivers can access emergency short-term relief when a family needs a break to keep everyone safe or parents or a child or youth is feeling unable to cope with their current family situation.
Across those two categories, child welfare systems provide respite care—or provide families resources to enable them to get respite care— in many ways. In some cases, respite care is a specific service offered to families. In other cases, respite is a component or an additional benefit of other services and activities (such as recreational or support events for youth that give youth and their parents time apart).
Families who have been approved by Child Respite Resource partner programs will be connected with a specialist who will help arrange in-home care or group event respite care.