Family Respite Services supports during Covid-19 Emergency Response

The support for families through FRS is an essential service in our community. We are not closed and continue to be there for you. However, as recommended we have most of our staff working remotely and we have closed our main office to visitors during this emergency response. The best way for families and Direct Support Providers to contact Family Coordinators is through their email, but they will also be receiving their voice mail and returning calls. We want to be in contact with you. We ask that Direct Support Providers and families send in timesheets or invoices through email. Send them to

We know that this is a very stressful time for families and direct support providers. We continue to urge families to follow the guidelines provided by Public Health. Our request is that you refrain from having Direct Support Providers come into your home for three weeks if possible. The purpose of this is to minimize personal contact and risk of transmitting Covid-19 to families, children and direct support providers. Families may consider having a close family member support your child for a period of time.

We know that this is not possible for some families. For those families who continue to have someone coming into their home please check in with one another prior to have anyone in the home. On each visit, review whether anyone in the family, the direct support worker or people that live with either party have travelled, are in self-quarantine or are experiencing an symptoms that are associated with Covid-19. If any of these conditions are present then DO NOT go forward with the support. In addition, Direct Support Providers are urged to practice hand washing several times throughout the visit. If any family using in home support or Direct Support Providers who are actively working become affected by Covid-19 we need to know this information immediately.

We know that this will also create hardship for some Direct Support Providers. If you need information about emergency funds or Employment Insurance that are available through the federal government please reach out to us.

Throughout this period we want to urge everyone to stay connected with each other and with us, to believe that we will all get through this and taking these steps will help everyone in our community. We hope to see creative responses from families and Direct Support Providers about ways that you are maintaining connections and doing activities through on line and would love to share your stories! 

Informational web link regarding How to Self Monitor provided Public Health Ontario.

Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities

The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) program, formerly known as the Handicapped Children's Benefit (HCB), provides help to parents to assist with some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a disability. The purpose of the benefit is to help children who have disabilities live as normal a life as possible at home and in the community. In order to qualify for this program, financial and medical criteria must be met.

What funding and/or service(s) are provided under the ACSD program?

Financial assistance ranges from $25 to $460 per month depending on the family's gross annual income and the number of other children in the family;
A child is eligible for a dental card; and
The program may help parents with extraordinary costs related to a child's condition. Examples include travel to doctors and hospitals, special shoes and clothing, parental relief, wheelchair repairs, hearing aid batteries, and financial assistance for basic dental care, drugs, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.

Who is eligible for this program?

The child must be under 18 years of age and live at home with a parent or a legal guardian. * The income of a family will be evaluated to determine qualification.
The child must have a severe disability that results in a functional loss.
Extraordinary costs must be present which are incurred directly as a result of the disability.

How does this relate to respite care?

Some families choose to use the funding that they receive through this benefit to pay for a worker to provide in home services or respite care.  Families may do this themselves, directly administering the funds and hiring a worker.  They may also request that Family Respite Services administer the funds for them.  Family Respite Services will do this for children who have intellectual disabilities.  In these situations, the staff from FRS work with the family to recruit a worker and will employ the worker and pay them.  The family pays for these services out of their benefits.

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