Q: What is respite care? How do I know if I am eligible?

A: Respite care is short-term temporary care for a disabled child (ren). The purpose is to give the caregiver a break and time away. Accessing respite care can be difficult, but not impossible. Eligibility is usually based on income and/or the nature of the disability. If your child is involved with an Early Intervention program, they may be able to provide information about respite care in your area since programs vary by state.

You can also contact your state’s Department of Mental Health, Department of Health and Human Services, or a local ARC chapter for information. Many disability-based support groups, such as the Autism Society of America or the United Cerebral Palsy Association, have information on respite care. In some cases, the respite care applies only to the disabled child (ren) and will not provide childcare for siblings, so as a parent of multiples, be sure to discuss sibling care in advance.

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