Respite Services

Respite Care

What are Respite Services?

CFF provides short-term, temporary Respite services to families in Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties, PA, who do not currently have resources or natural supports to assist in caring for a child with a mental health diagnosis. Unlike typical childcare, Respite services are utilized to increase the wellness of the family and prevent unwanted crises by enabling caregivers to take a break. Families who meet eligibility requirements may receive respite for a period of 3 months. Caregiver participation in support and networking meetings is a requirement in order to receive additional respite. Respite services typically do not exceed 6 months in duration.

In-home, hourly Respite takes place in the home of the child. Out-of-home respite takes place in the home of an approved Respite provider. At the end of the authorization period, unused hours and overnight stays expire. Where warranted, services may be tailored to meet a family’s unique, short-term, emergency need for Respite.

Respite services are delivered by approved CFF Respite providers. Many approved providers are employed full-time in the mental health, education, or allied healthcare field or are in the process of completing a related degree program. All have undergone child abuse, criminal record, and FBI screenings. Approved providers also maintain CPR and first aid certifications, and have had a recent physical to screen for communicable diseases. Those providers who provide care in their own homes have undergone an extensive home-study including a fire-safety inspection completed by their local fire marshal.

Host-Home Emergency Respite Option (HERO): HERO is Respite care that increases the wellness of the family and prevents unwanted crises by enabling care-givers to take a break. HERO is a specialized service to reduce unnecessary out of home placement of youth who are experiencing crises but who do not meet medical necessity for placement in a more restrictive environment such as a hospital, psychiatric center, or residential program.

Who is eligible?

Families who are raising a child or young adult (ages 3-21) with a mental health diagnosis who are struggling to access natural childcare supports for their child with special needs may be referred for Respite services. The Respite coordination process includes a needs assessment and authorization for respite services is determined based upon level of need. Respite is a non-clinical service and children must be psychiatrically stable in order to receive Respite.

HERO: Youth referred to HERO must meet the following criteria:

  • Be between the ages of 3 and 18
  • Have a DSM-V mental health diagnosis
  • Have Medical Assistance (MA) or be MA eligible
  • Are experiencing a temporary crisis but don’t meet criteria for hospitalization
  • Have needs that can be diverted from higher level of care and instead can be managed in community settings
  • Have a history of multiple contacts with Mobile Crisis and/or Crisis Assessment within the past 12 months
  • Agree to be served in an approved CFF Respite Home
Ineligible: Children who do not have a mental health diagnosis including those identified as Intellectually Disabled are not eligible. Additionally, families who have access to other natural or formal childcare supports (e.g. babysitter, nanny, PCA) do not qualify for Respite services though our program. Similarly, families who have the financial resources to fund their own Respite needs are not eligible to receive Respite through CFF. Families deemed ineligible are encouraged to join us at networking and planning meetings and available information about other area resources will be provided.

Who can make a referral?

Children must be referred by a mental health service provider or other professional. The service provider plays an integral part in assessing a family’s need for Respite. Ultimately, we aim to reduce families’ reliance on formal Respite supports by helping families overcome barriers to accessing natural childcare resources. This goal is achieved through a collaborative relationship with the family and the service provider and through the provision of formal planning and networking opportunities for families identified as having a longer-term Respite need.

A referral for Respite services may be made by submitting a completed respite referral packet along with a recent psychological evaluation (or other clinical documentation) to the appropriate CFF office. Once complete, the referral packet may be submitted via fax or post. Because no eligible family is turned away, a waitlist is maintained. The wait time to be matched with a provider varies and priority is given to families with the greatest documented need. CFF will communicate regularly with families waiting to receive Respite and children on our waitlist.

How to become a respite provider

Thank you for your interest in becoming contracted as an approved Respite provider with our agency. There are many families in our community caring for children with mental health needs. By matching referred families with an approved Respite provider, our Respite care program provides these families the opportunity to take a needed break from the challenges that come with daily care giving. Our Respite providers play a crucial role; the specialized care they provide increases the well-being of the entire family.

We value our approved Respite providers. Individuals approved to provide Respite services will receive competitive, fee for service compensation, and after-hours on call support.

Click here to apply to be a Respite provider. In the page that opens you will find a checklist that guides you through the application process.

For further information please call a Respite Coordinator; we are here to help.

HERO: Individuals or families looking to become a HERO provider may email HERO@childandfamilyfocus.org to connect with a coordinator and discuss becoming a provider.

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Respite Care
Respite Care Services