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.