FAQs For those interested in providing Respite Care in their own homes

What is respite?

Respite is defined as “an interval of rest or relief”. The Respite Care Program of Child & Family Focus (CFF) provides short-term, temporary care to families who need a break from the daily challenges of caring for a child with mental health needs.

Why do some children need respite?

All caregivers need relief from time to time. For parents raising children with mental health diagnoses, their need for a break is even more crucial; however, their options for finding appropriate care are limited. This is where our program steps in and provides a much needed break to both the parents and the child.

What are the benefits of respite?

The benefits of respite care are many. The relief given to both the child and family during difficult times can alleviate stress and fatigue, and in turn provide them an opportunity to reenergize. Respite works proactively to support family unity and lends to the well being of all family members.

Am I too young or too old to be a respite provider?

To care for a child in your home, you must be at least 25 years of age and in good mental and physical health (as documented by your physician).

Do I need to have a spouse?

No. Respite providers can be single, married, divorced, widowed or living in a long-term stable relationship.

Do I have to have children of my own?

No. Having children of your own can be helpful to increase socialization; however, people without children of their own are just as necessary and effective as those providers who do have children.

What if I work?

Having a job need not stop you from being a respite provider, considering most respite stays take place on the weekend. However, your job hours must not hinder your availability to provide 24/7 supervision to a child while he/she is in your home.

As a Respite Provider, would I become a staff member of CFF?

No. Respite Providers through CFF are not employees of, but rather, Independent Contractors with our agency. CFF does not provide to them fringe benefits, including health insurance benefits, paid vacation, or any other employee benefit


Would I receive financial reimbursement?

Yes. Along with the intangible benefits that come with providing respite care, there is an hourly, taxable, reimbursement that is determined based upon an individual’s relevant experience. CFF does require that our respite providers not rely on this reimbursement as their sole source of income.

What would my legal responsibilities be?

Respite providers must have no criminal or child abuse record, as verified by Act 33 clearances and an FBI background check. Providers must live in a home that meets local and State of PA safety standards (determined during a home safety inspection and home study interview conducted by our agency). All providers become Mandated Reporters of child abuse, according to the State of PA law. Providers must also be willing to follow rules and regulations set forth by CFF.

Who determines which children are placed in which respite home?

In order to decide whether they have the skills necessary to care for a child, respite providers are given information about the child’s history, strengths, mental health issues, behaviors, and, at times, have the opportunity to meet the child and his/her parents ahead of time. The family, respite providers, and CFF team together decide if the match is a good one.

Would I need to care for every child that would be referred / introduced to me?

No. Providers are never obligated, and must be comfortable with and equipped to care for a child that is referred to them; for this reason, we have a comprehensive matching process. CFF respects the decisions of our providers and understands limited preferences and resources. (Please keep in mind that if you prefer to care for a very specific type of child – i.e. a specific age range or diagnosis – your options will be limited).

How would a child be transported to my home?

Respite providers must have a valid driver’s license and fully insured car. Under the supervision and assistance of CFF, parents & providers often arrange a child pick-up & drop-off point that is safe and convenient for both parties.

What support and training will I receive?

CFF provides training, telephone assistance, and crisis support. Providers must be willing to participate in our annual training program, which includes First Aid & CPR.

How can I start the application process?

If you are interested in becoming a Respite Care provider through Child & Family Focus, you must first submit a Respite Provider application. If you have not already received this application, please contact a Respite Coordinator by calling 866-240-3010 x248. He/She will answer any questions you may have and guide you through the application process.

About Child and Family Focus

Child and Family Focus Inc. is a non-profit, faith based agency serving children and youth in Montgomery, Chester, Bucks and Delaware counties. It is our mission to enhance the quality of life for youth and their families.

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