Parent Support Services: Childcare/Respite


Respite Care:

What is respite care? Respite care provides caregivers a temporary rest from the duties of caregiving. It can provide a time for caregivers to take care of their own personal needs. Respite care helps to decrease burnout that can leave caregivers depressed, stressed out or exhausted. It is a way to provide one with the time to rebuild the loving compassion it takes to take care of another. We all know you cannot take care of anyone else very well if you are not taking care of yourself. In addition, regular use of respite care will help the person with disabilities acclimate to having someone else take care of them should something unexpectedly happens to cause the primary caregiver to be unable to provide care.

General types of respite care:

In-home: – family, grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends, neighbors, faith based organizations, United Community Options, The Arc of Palm Beach County

Community Based: – Before/After School Programs, YMCA, Parks and Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation, faith based organizations

Agency Based: – UCO, The Arc of Palm Beach County, Community Care for the Elderly, Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, Community Care Home Care for the Elderly, Aging Disability Resource Center.

Emergency Care: – Grandma’s Place; JAFCO Children’s Ability Center

How does the service/topic help the person with a disability or family support system?

Why is respite important? As a preventive strategy, respite:

  • Helps strengthen families
  • Minimizes precursors that can lead to abuse and neglect
  • Protects families’ health and well-being
  • Allows family caregivers to continue providing care at home, avoiding institutionalization

How can a parent/caregiver gain access to this service?

Currently, 211 is maintaining a database of respite caregivers. This information will also be included on Unicorn’s Virtual Hub. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities has a list of individuals/organizations who are approved to provide respite services through the Medicaid Waiver. 211 also has this list.

Recommended websites, YouTube videos, books on respite: ARCH National Respite Network website Click Here Florida Lifespan Respite Alliance website Click Here

When looking for respite services are there any questions or observations you would recommend parents to investigate before selecting a provider?

Questions to ask: Parents/Caregivers should conduct an in-depth interview with a potential provider. Ensure that a background check has been done.

Here are some sample questions:

  • Does the individual have experience in providing respite? In the home? With an agency?
  • What does he/she like best about providing respite?
  • Does he/she have experience in working with children or adults with disabilities?
  • What age level, disability or needs does he/she have experience with?
  • Has he/she received training/What type of training, How many hours of training? Certifications?
  • Has the individual received first aid or CPR training? When? Where? Certificates?
  • Does he/she have letters of recommendation? Does he/she have references with names and contact information?
  • Does the individual have any special interests or talents?
  • Determine if the individual willing to work with your child on any chores, independent skills, homework, etc.?
  • Does he/she have any mobility or health restrictions that might impact safe care?


Julia Quinn-Szcesuil. What is Respite Care?

Written by: Pam Heyer, Special Needs Project Coordinator, United Way of Palm Beach County[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]