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Respite Care

Temporary Relief for Foster and Adoptive Families

Everyone can do something for children in foster care. The demands of caring for kids who suffer from a history of traumatic experiences can be overwhelming to even the best caregivers. We qualify people to provide temporary respite care services for Missouri foster children to help foster, kinship, and adoptive families get needed help.

respite care young girl

Want to Become a Respite Care Provider?

To become a respite provider in Jackson County, MO, contact Cornerstones of Care (855-778-5437) and ask to be “referred for respite licensure”. They will provide you with information about respite care and next steps. If you need any help during this process, contact FosterAdopt Connect:

Liz Ullery

816-350-0215 ext. 326

respite@fosteradopt.org

Respite Care Frequently Asked Questions

What is respite care in Missouri?

Respite care is provided to a child in foster care or an adoptive family for a short period of time by someone other than the primary caregivers (i.e. foster parents, adoptive parents, or kinship parents). Respite care gives these parents and children the chance to have short, regular periods of time apart in which they can rest and recharge. It also provides crisis care for times in which behaviors stemming from a child’s trauma are seriously impacting other members of the family. It enhances the quality of care for children, gives parents a deserved and necessary break, and ensures healthy and stable placements for all children by preventing parental exhaustion and burnout. While respite care is designed primarily to provide rest and relief for the primary caregivers, children in respite care also benefits. A temporary change of caregiver gives them an opportunity to build new relationships and experience a bit of independence. Quality respite care can nurture a child’s sense of trust and stability through contact with additional stable and caring adults and their families. Respite care providers are an extremely important and valuable part of the foster care and adoption systems!

Who can qualify as a respite provider?

Respite providers are trained individuals who care for children on a temporary basis either in their own homes or in the homes of the families using respite care. It is very important that only qualified, well-trained respite caregivers whom families can trust with their children provide this service. The certification process required for respite caregivers helps assure this goal. To qualify as a respite care provider, an individual must be at least 21 years old. Other requirements vary depending on whether the provider is an adoptive parent, a current foster parent, or has no previous association with the foster/adoptive systems. A respite provider doesn’t have to be married, be a parent, own his/her home, or have a large income. In other words, don’t assume there is something about your circumstances that will prevent you from becoming a respite provider! If you have questions about your eligibility, please ask us. The length of the licensing process varies and depends in part on how quickly you complete the paperwork and how quickly the agencies involved act. We estimate the length of the entire process, from start to finish , is approximately 90 days for new providers and less for currently licensed foster parents and respite providers.

What types of children receive respite care, and how long does it last?

Foster and adoptive families are allotted a certain number of respite care units per child per year. The number of units depends on the child’s trauma history and behavioral challenges. Families can divide those units up as they choose. The periods of respite care can last a day, a weekend, or a week. Care may be provided either at the respite care provider’s home (out-of-home care) or at the foster/adoptive family’s home (in-home care). Respite care providers are free to choose the length of the periods of respite care they provide, the type of children they would like to provide care for, and the location of providing the care.

What benefits are given to respite care providers and what support is available?

The state of Missouri, through the Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services, reimburses respite providers at a rate of $20-$40 per day depending on their behavioral needs. All children in foster care are automatically eligible for paid respite care. However, in order for a provider to be paid to provide respite care to an adopted child, the child must have a respite care subsidy written into their adoption contract. For children in foster care, the foster parent gives the respite provider a respite payment form. After care is completed, the respite provider submits the payment form to Children’s Division, and Children’s Division sends a check directly to the respite provider. For adopted children, the rate (usually $20 per day) is written into the adoption contract. The adoptive parent pays the respite provider directly. The adoptive parent then submits a form to Children’s Division for reimbursement. Please note that FosterAdopt Connect’s respite program is a referral program only. Children’s Division is wholly responsible for payment to respite providers, and all questions regarding payment should first be addressed to Children’s Division.

If I can’t take a child into my home, can I still help?

Yes! For a variety of reason, many potential providers aren’t able to care for a child in their home. However, there are other options. Some foster and adoptive families prefer in-home care (in the child’s home). Also, some churches have programs that provide a regular family night out program where church members take care of children in foster care or from adoptive families for an evening. Sometimes that short period of time is all that is needed to help refresh and renew parents and kids. If your church would be interested in starting a program like this, let us know and we can help you get started.

I would like more information about becoming a respite provider. Who should I contact?

We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about respite care in the state of Missouri. Please call (816) 350-0215 and ask for the licensing department.

I am a foster or adoptive parent in need of respite care. What do I do?

If you are a foster parent, call FosterAdopt Connect and we will make every attempt to find a respite provider to you. If you are an adoptive parent, it is important to make sure the child for whom you are seeking care has a respite care subsidy in their adoption contract. If this is not the case, please call us and we will help you apply to amend the contract to include this subsidy.