Accessing Respite Services

February 15, 2014

woman walking down path through field

About Respite Services

Respite services provide planned or emergency care for a child or adult with special needs in order to provide temporary relief to family caregivers and meaningfully engage the individual with special needs.

Why Respite Is Important for Families/Caregivers

While caregiving demands are a part of every family’s life, many families of children and adults with autism are on the front line 24/7, providing intensive supervision and support to maintain their safety and help them fulfill their potential. One could call it “Extreme Caregiving” and there are understandable stresses that come with this role. Caregivers often are unable to complete everyday tasks, accept career opportunities, attend religious services, participate in activities with other family members, or enjoy community because the needs of their loved one with autism are often more pressing.  Without the break respite can provide, caregivers are at risk of both physical and psychological distress that can impact their health and well-being, personal relationships and marriage, and their coping and caregiving skills.

How to Access Respite Services

Children (to age 21)

Respite services are part of the Family Support Services provided by the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) NJ Children’s System of Care (CSOC). PerformCare is the contracted provider for CSOC services.  Parents of children who are eligible for developmental disability services through PerformCare can apply for respite.

To learn more about Developmental Disability Family Support Services call PerformCare at 877.652.7624.  Determination for approval of Family Support Services is based upon intensity of need, availability, and date of application.

To learn more about eligibility for PerformCare’s Developmental Disability services, click here.

To learn more about PerformCare’s respite services, check out their fact sheet.

To learn more about eligibility for PerformCare’s Services, click here.

Adults (21+)

Respite services are available for families/caregivers of adults with autism (aged 21 and older) via the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ (DDD) Family Support Services.   The Supports Program Policy and Procedure Manual is the most up-to-date resource on accessing respite and other DDD-funded services.

Your first call to explore your eligibility and discuss the availability of respite services should be with your Support Coordinator.