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.

Community Respite

Many families want their child to have opportunities to be active in the community during the time that they have a short break.  The family has a respite care provider who cares for their child on a regular basis.  The respite provider is matched with the family and child to meet the needs of the child.  In many communities this person is called a "CHAP" worker (Community Helpers for Active Participation).  During the time spent with the child, the respite provider assists the child/youth to participate in community based activities.  These activities are a time when the child can develop new skills and relationships, have fun and participate in activities where they may need some support. It is a time when relationships with others can be nurtured.

Respite providers are self employed. In many situations families may be receiving some financial assistance from FRS to pay for the service. Families also use funds that they receive from other kinds of programs.  The parent is responsible to provide the training to the respite care provider to enable them to meet the specific needs of their child and to oversee the respite care provider.  The Family Coordinator from FRS maintains support with the family to provide support and resources and is available to assist the respite provider.

The focus with respite care is to provide enjoyable, fun activities with the child and to provide care so that the parent can have a break. We encourage respite providers to be "connectors" so that the children and youth continue to build on relationships and connections that help them to belong and participate in the community.  Respite care is meant to be a planned time together.  It may be a regular time each week, or scheduled less often, depending on the needs of the family and funding available.  Some respite providers support more than one child, but do not care for two children together unless they are siblings.  Most families would be developing plans for this service on weekends or after school.

Family Respite Services provides community based respite for children with intellectual challenges and physical challenges.  We also work in partnership with the local children's mental health agencies to provide respite for children with mental health challenges.

Family Respite Services also provides support through a unique relationship with the Recreation Departments in Windsor and LaSalle.  In these situations, we provide staff members to support children to participate in community recreation programs such as summer day camp programs, or the Fantastic Fridays program.  This is limited by resources to a few centres.

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