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.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

What special respite care services are available for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ?

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides a limited amount of funding for communities to provide respite care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  These funds are alocatted each year.  They can be used for in home respite, out of home respite, paying for special camp fees or strengthening or developing special respite programs for children with ASD.

Family Respite Services administers these funds on behalf of the Windsor Essex area, in collaboration with other service providers.

Typically, families complete an application form and funds are designated on a yearly basis.  The amount of funding received by the family will depend on resources available.

How the funding is used:

  • Families may choose to have Family Respite Services administer these funds. In these situations, FRS works with the family to recruit a respite care provider to provide the respite service.  The respite care may be in the family's home or in the community.
  • Families may administer the funds themselves, contracting with a respite provider themselves, submitting invoices to FRS according to the agreement developed with FRS.
  • Families may purchase services out of their designated funding through other agencies such as Community Living Essex, Maryvale or Community Living Windsor.
  • Families may develop a plan for their child to attend a day camp with supports provided through Family Respite Services

Training and Support for for Respite Care providers:

Family Respite Services, in partnership with Autism Ontario and Safeguards Training, has developed an online resource course for people who are providing respite care for children and youth with ASD.  This can be accessed through Safeguards Training for a nominal fee.

FRS, through this same partnership also developed a handbook to assist parents to assist them in the process of contracting with a respite care provider, providing support and training to their worker and developing tools to assist with caring for their child with ASD.  This handbook can be obtained through FRS. An on line course is also available through Safeguards for parents.

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