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.

Outline of Direct Support Provider Role

Imagine connecting a child in our community…

Direct Support Providers:

  • Support the child in the family’s home and in the community, so that parents receive a short break/rest.
  • Support the child/young person to participate in meaningful activities according to a plan developed with the family.
  • Have a Part-time paid opportunity, usually ranging from 4 – 6 hours/week, $13-$23/hour.
  • Have a specific role with each family. Some families administer funds they receive and contract directly with a Direct Support Provider as a self-employed contractor. FRS administers funds for some families and employs the worker on a contractual basis. Direct Support Providers and parents will negotiate with you how payment for services is implemented. A Family Coordinator will discuss this with you at the appropriate time.

Providing Needed Support to Families:
Family Respite Services (FRS) supports over 1000 families caring for children (0-18) with disabilities in Windsor and Essex County. Direct Support Providers are matched to a child based on education, experience, interests, availability and location of where you live. FRS uses a tool called to help families and Direct Support Providers get matched to one another. The family makes the decision about whether the Direct Support Provider is suited to their family and child. FRS supports children with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, Medical Health Challenges, and Mental Health Challenges. Parents expect that the Direct Support Provider will go to their home a few hours a day and a couple of times a week. Eg. Tues/Thurs 4 p.m. -6 p.m. and/or Saturdays etc. Hours are typically after school, evenings and weekends. Families may be flexible with schedules; however families usually prefer that there is a structured routine time for their child and family. A one year/long term commitment is encouraged. Most families request that you have access to a vehicle. Some families require that the support provider drives with the child to community outings. If you don’t have access to a vehicle it may be difficult for you to find an appropriate match.

Helping Children with Disabilities to Be Included:

  • Direct Support providers enrich the quality of life for families, while the child participates in our community.
  • Supporting children through FRS and is very rewarding for the child, family and Direct Support Provider.

Tasks may include:

  • Academics-tutoring, puzzles, library, reading, math, telling time, counting, shapes etc.
  • Socialization- communication, social skills, encouraging friendships
  • Developmental Skills/Daily Life Skills- building on a full life and skills for the future.
  • Recreational Activities- Park, community centers, sports, exercise, register for a particular activity, being active.
  • Making connections in the community by volunteering and getting involved.

Using Your Unique Skills, Experience and Interests:

Direct Support Providers must be able to assist children with varying needs, including different kinds of disabilities Eg) Autism, mental health, medical, physical, intellectual. You may be required to provide personal care or support someone with behavioural or communication challenges. FRS discusses your comfort, experience and skills with you to help you find the best match. Families provide orientation as well. Students enrolled in related programs can gain a lot of experience from supporting a child and you can apply the theory learned in the classroom setting in a practical manner. This is a flexible opportunity for graduates and people of any age, even if you are already working full time else where. This is a chance for professionals to continue/reconnect with frontline service.

Come make a difference!
Our vision is a community where all parents are strong and all children belong!

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