when we were first awarded respite here, we got in home respite for a few hours a week. County funding paid for it and it was done thru an agency that did in home nursing as well and also supervised visits for families. That agency was short staffed and tended to overbook often. What happened then was the agency would not have staff to send out but they would not tell clients that. They would feign ignorance when noone showed up to provide respite and they would write in your chart that someone came but you sent the worker away. Then after a few times of that happening they would say the family was "uncooperative" or did not want respite after all and you would lose your funding.
When respite workers did show up, some were competant and personable and helpful. Some weren't. I caught one sleeping every time she worked - sound asleep on my sofa everytime I came home. I complained and my case manager thought I was making it up. Till my case manager caught her doing so 3 times.
Another respite worker we had brought her own child with to our home and then would take my 3 kids and her child in her little checy s-10 pickup away from my house. Very often she would not return back to my house "on time" causing manymissed appts with our in home therapist, behavior mod doctor and case manager. And the pickup truck did not have enough seats or seat belts for the 4 kids. Turns out that respite worker was taking my kids with her to another job she was working while also doing the respite work.
Yet another respite worker the county sent to us was a lady who had foster kids who lived across the street from me. I had reported her to cps as I had seen her multiple times beating her fosters with a broom in the front yard. That woman had problems. She would see me putting my then toddler son into my car and she would scream across the street for me to keep him away as he was not "one of hers"
I worked for a home care agency that provided respite in our county at that time. I can tell you that at that time here where I live, no certifications were required for people to provide respite. Pay was minimum wage. Staff turnover was very high. We had major strange issues with policy. Originally we got respite and we were supposed to leave the house, husband and I to spend time with each other. (sometimes respite was provided for us to go to couples sessions) BUT one of the respite workers insisted we were not to leave her alone at our house with our kids. Another time I was gonna take a much needed nap when respite was here and I was told I could not be in the house when respite was here. For a while we had respite one evening a week from 4 till 10 PM but that respite worker told us she was not permitted to serve dinner to our kids. Nevermind dinner was cooked and ready to serve. Another said they were not permitted to "help withhomework" and more than one said they were not allowed to even supervise a bath not even for my then 13 yr old..even if my child was entirely self bathing and dressing, the child was not to bathe whle respite was here? I was also told even TELLING my kids to put their dirty clothes in the laundry was "doing laundry" and not allowed.
Truth is when I rprovided respite there were VERY few things I was NOT allowed to do. To transport I had to have certain paperwork in order. I could not give medications. I WAS licensed (I am a nurse) so I could give medications with certain paperwork completed....but non nurse respite persons were not to give medications. Yes, I cooked, served meals, FED peeople who could not feed themself, I bathed and dressed people.
SOmething else that happened when we had respite was one respite worker reported us to CPS for suspiscion of sexual abuse of our kids becuz our kids did not wear full undergarments to sleep in. (it was dismissed by CPS) and another reported us as being too strict - why? becuz during respite we said the kids could not go play at peers friends houses or have peers come over to play. ANother respite worker reported us as being too permissive with no bedtime becuz we did not have HER put our kids to bed before she left at 8 pm. (when we came back home)
I am telling you about our experiences with respite so that you can be aware to get things in writing about just exactly what respite can and cannot do and will or will not do and how they will do it so you do not have the same types of problems we had. It is very sad that something that was SUPPOSED to make things a little easier for us ultimately wound up making our life considerably more difficult.
We were awarded respite for a few reasons. One was so we had childcare so we could go to couples sessions and parenting classes. ANother reason was becuz our case manager thought we were not properly following thru with behavior mod program, so respite was provided as backup to ensure behav mod program was being followed. and 4 hours a week was so I could continue to work my jobs while my husband had his therapy.
another interesting thing was when we were trying to set up the respite schedule......the agency kept trying to offer us respite from 10 am till 2 pm. All 3 of my kids were in school. I kept saying 10-2 was useless, noone was home then. That agency reported back to county that I did not WANT respite.
Well....we were starting the respite search as husband and I never get a break from the boys. It would be nice to go to a 90 minute movie.
The first time I was away from the boys was for 4 days this summer when husband took off work so I could go to a family wedding out of state.
Has anyone had a good experience? Dreamer thanks for posting yours but I'm praying it is not typical. If it is I'd rather know now.
Mostly just be aware to get a job description, know for sure what they can or cannot do....stuff like that- so you know what to expect. and don't assume they know what to do with your childs specific needs/diagnosis---most are not trained in any specific situations, circumstances.....
We dont have respite here...at least none that I know of from my contacts.
I do have some personal experience with the people who are sent into peoples homes to help deal with the kids. Here they are called (or were called) Hi risk intervention workers. Now they may have changed the name to Community support workers.
When Cory first started having these people in his life they were called "day friends". Back then they only had to have a high school diploma and they were paid minimum wage. They were supervised by a case manager back then I think thru mental health. Then it moved to contracting them out to private companies who contracted with mental health.
The names changed to either community based intervention workers or hi risk intervention workers depending on the severity of the child and length of time the worker was needed. The worker had to have a college degree and was trained by the private company on the childhood behavior disorders. Their pay was based on whether they were a CBI or HRI worker. Medicaid paid the agency somewhere around $35 an hour per worker. (This would have been back in about 1999...last time I checked the medicaid reimbursement rates)
Now I recently looked into becoming one of these people. It was suggested that because of my education and experience that I would qualify. I probably would but I dont think I could do it physically if a child were to get physical with me. The pay was around $10 an hour working for the agency I go to for my therapy.
Just one note in response to Janet's post... in terms of the current mental health system they don't call it respite but it can be put into the treatment aka case mgmt plan or "person centered plan" in the lingo de jour. If it's more than a couple of hours (which would be the in home worker covering) they would typically use a therapeutic foster home. The same ones who do the emergency foster care would do the respite so to some extent it's dependent on availability of beds. In the daughter world it's one of the choices for using the money alloted.. in NC anyway. But all this is going to vary by state. Guess what I'm saying is that if you are already an open case with the state you should be able to get it. If not, I can't imagine how you could afford it.
In terms of finding someone if you must look on your own I'd have to recommend calling the local CPS, mental health or daughter agencies to ask if there is a foster parent support group or another way that you could find a foster parent who is familiar with your child's issues and would do it. In the world of foster parenting it's very common. Most states require that a foster child can only be babysat by another foster parent. So if a foster family wants a night out they have to find another foster family to cover. So there is typically a foster family network.