The second section of the guide explores the various respite care options that might be developed for families. There are several model respite programs around the country. The models are designed to inform parent support group leaders about the programs that are available and helps them develop a program that is right for their families. What works in one area may not work in another area. There is also an emphasis placed on the parent groups conducting a needs assessment. This allows the parent group leaders to receive feedback from the families regarding the types of respite the families need.
The Continuum of Respite Care is based on the needs of the families. Respite can include in-home care which allows the child to stay in his or her own home and have a trusted adult come to the home. Group child care is another option and it allows the child to go to a daycare center with other children while the parent is at a parent group meeting.
Special interest and mentor relationship experiences are also a great option. These include the child being involved in an activity that they enjoy such as sports, music or Girl Scouts. Camps can also provide a planned form of respite care. Camps can be day long, overnight, weekend, or week long. It is up to the family and what the family needs are to determine what type of program would be best.
Therapeutic care is another option available to families. This is a much more restrictive type of respite care that is provided by trained professionals or experienced caregivers. Again, it is all based on the needs of the child and the family.
The final section of the guide shows the applicant how to develop a plan. Using the parent assessment tool, parent group leaders would design their respite program. Additionally, applicants are provided the guidance to ensure they have addressed all the legal requirements for a respite program.
Finally, this section emphasizes how important it is for the provider of respite care to form a good relationship with the public child welfare agencies in the jurisdiction of the program.
The group leaders must also determine the number of children to be served, the type of respite program desired, how often families can request the services, how many staff members are needed and where the program will be housed.
With the plan outlined, the budget can and must be developed. Last but not least, once a provider receives a grant, they will need to locate and train respite care providers.
Evaluations are a must. They are important for the group leader to gather information from the group to find out if the program met their expectations and needs, and to deter- mine if the program should continue.
The evaluation is also a good way for people to share their ideas and discuss any changes they would like to see in the program. The evaluation can be done by survey, interview or just general conversation.
Finally, the Respite Guide also provides forms that groups can use for their program. Medical history, billing information, authorization forms, and child information forms are a few examples of the forms that are included in the guide.
Additionally, there are also several organizations and websites listed that can provide additional resources to the respite groups. For more information about the Respite Guide, “Taking a Break: Creating Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Respite in Your Community,” contact Diane Martin-Hushman.