Respite care services have two main goals as part of a treatment/service plan: to provide home care, thus avoiding “burnout,” reducing stress and preventing family disruption (or out–of–home placement) of the child/adolescent with serious emotional disturbances and to provide socialization opportunities and age appropriate activities for children as specified in the child/youth’s treatment/service plan.
The target population is children under age 18 whose emotional and/or behavioral special needs require constant attention from their caregivers. These behaviors, e.g. impulsiveness, poor self-control, constant activity, tantrums, aggressiveness, put these children at risk of being removed from their biological, adoptive, or foster homes. Provision of respite care is intended for children involved with DCF and non-DCF children involved in the local System of Care.
- Respite care services should be child-centered, with the needs and strengths of the child and family dictating the types and mix of services provided.
- Respite care services are community-based, with the locus of services as well as management and decision-making responsibility resting at the community level, and always are implemented in partnership with the family.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should have access to a comprehensive array of services that address the child’s physical, emotional, developmental, social and educational needs.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should receive individualized services in accordance with the unique needs and potential of each child, and guided by an individualized service plan.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should receive services within the least restrictive, most normative environment that is clinically appropriate.
- The families and surrogate families of children with an emotional disturbance should be full participants in all aspects of the planning and delivery of services.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should receive services that are integrated, with linkages between child-caring agencies and programs and mechanisms for planning, developing and coordinating services.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should be provided with service coordination/case management or similar mechanisms to ensure that multiple services are delivered in a coordinated and therapeutic manner, and that they can move through the system of care in accordance with their changing needs.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should be ensured smooth transitions to the adult service system as they reach maturity.
- The rights of children with an emotional disturbance should be protected and effective advocacy efforts for emotionally disturbed children and youth should be promoted.
- Children with an emotional disturbance should receive services without regard to race, religion, national origin, sex, physical disability or other characteristics.
- Services should be sensitive and responsive to cultural differences and special needs.