BSSR Resources, Methods, and Measures

Keeping Families Together With Respite Care for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Respite care is available for children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual or developmental disabilities. However, respite care for children with emotional and behavioral disorders is rarely available and difficult to access. When families are in crisis and law enforcement respond to the home, a cool-down period is needed for everyone if the child is not removed. However, there is no available option for this service for most families. Crisis respite provides a child a place to relax and decompress for the evening or for the day while the others in the home have a quiet and calm night to sleep, or the ability to go to work and school. After crisis respite the family meets together to review the events that led to the crisis, make a plan to prevent future crises, and obtain needed resources. Scheduled respite services provide families with time to relax, and reset. Children need time away from tense situations, screen time, and conflict. Parents need time to connect, rest, and spend time with children that may not get attention at other times. The respite facility focuses on calm, relaxation, self-regulation, time in nature, self-reflection, and connection. After scheduled respite parents and children are guided through a family meeting to plan the week and problem solve anticipated issues. Crisis and scheduled respite care help families stay together by providing needed breaks for families who are dealing with behaviors that are exhausting. It reduces law enforcement involvement, family conflict, and aggression.

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Idea No. 317