Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Case Study Report. 6.3 Respite


In the four states where respite was provided through the PAS program, providers reported that these services came in several forms, including providing reimbursement or vouchers for a caregiver, sending a child to camp or on an outing, holding special events (e.g., annual parties), or offering art therapy. In Virginia, the state created a Client Fund that gave PAS providers the flexibility to fund an array of services identified by clients, including respite. One PAS provider in Virginia reported that she tried to leverage respite funds with support from private sources such as vouchers from hotels and restaurants.

Due to the high demand for caregiver respite, many programs limited the availability of respite funding. In Virginia, providers were allowed to spend up to $500 per adoptive child per year under the Client Fund. (The limit originally was $500 per family.) In Massachusetts, each provider received $12,000 per year to spend on respite services for families in their region. In Texas, each family was allowed to receive $28 per day. In Georgia, families were approved for up to 20 hours per month and could borrow into the next month.

PAS providers in the four states reported that camp stays also had been limited due to high demand and limited funding. In Texas, families were eligible for a one-week stay at any camp. Demand for camperships in Massachusetts often exceeded the availability of funds. In Georgia, the state-sponsored camp was limited to 30 slots on a first-come first-served basis. In Virginia, a regional provider was negotiating with a childrens camp to reserve a week specifically for adoptive children, seeking private funds to support the cost of the week at camp.

Reimbursing family members for providing respite care remained a contentious issue for PAS providers and adoptive parents.

Finding respite providers that were acceptable both to families and the state often was challenging. In several states, adoptive families could not receive payments for respite provided by other family members. However, providers in Georgia reported that they allowed adoptive families to use other family members to provide respite. A regional provider in Virginia had developed respite circles, connecting families with similar children and parenting styles who could provide respite for each other.

Virginia funded an effort to increase respite resources for adoptive families through the Virginia Institute for Developmental Disabilities (VIDD), an organization affiliated with Virginia Commonwealth University. VIDD had a separate state contract to work with regional PAS providers to develop respite resources in their region. The VIDD coordinator visited each region to discuss resource development and developed a resource guide for adoptive parents based on her experiences with respite for families with developmentally delayed children.

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