This article has been fact checked by a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
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Parents and caregivers of children with cerebral palsy face the daunting task of not only raising a child, but raising a child with special needs. Often, parents and caregivers don’t take much-needed breaks in order to recharge their energy. Some may not even know how to take a break. Respite care is designed to help these families and children.
What is Respite Care?
According to the United Cerebral Palsy organization (UCP), respite care is a temporary break for parents and caregivers who have children with special needs.  There are numerous benefits that respite care aims to offer. These benefits include:
- Relaxation and enjoyment
- Time off from duties of caring for special needs children
- A time to do past hobbies without worries or stress
- A way to promote family stability
- Family enrichment and preservation
Respite care can last a day, a few days, a week, or in monthly sessions for a certain amount of time each day.
Where Does Respite Care Take Place?
In many instances, respite care takes place in your own home. In-home respite care will let your child stay in a familiar environment while qualified respite care workers take care of your daily tasks. Respite care providers may also bring toys, games, and adaptive equipment to keep your child occupied and safe.
Other times, respite care takes place out of the home, at places such as the licensed home of a provider, a group home, daycare centers, hospitals, or camps. Out-of-home respite care gives children the opportunity to thrive in a new environment while communicating and playing with peers, all under the care of a licensed professional.
If you choose out of home respite care, you’ll also need to decide which type of care center would work best for your child. For instance, do you think your child would benefit from a camp setting where they can explore the outdoors and learn about nature?
Would they be better suited for an indoor daycare with educational toys and comfortable space? Whichever setting you decide, be certain to weigh out the pros and cons of each.
How Much Does Respite Care Cost?
The cost of respite care will vary depending on the setting you choose, the number of days you request, the company/organization providing the care, and the activities involved. On average, respite care can range from $65 to $200 per day, but again, this is just a ballpark figure, and prices will vary.
Fortunately, there are several non-profit organizations that help improve the affordability of respite care for families with special needs children. The best way to determine what you qualify for is to contact 2-1-1, which can provide you with local respite care information, as well as a link to financial aid options.
Organizations such as UCP and the Easter Seals often provide free services or services based on a sliding scale of your income.
Additionally, the majority of states offer their funding programs for assistance with respite care. According to Medicaid.gov, these state-based funding options are known as “Home & Community-Based Waivers,” and help with the costs of in-home care and community care under the Medicaid program. 
If you have long-term care insurance, check with your insurance provider to determine if respite care is covered. Many long-term care insurance companies offer various types of care, including respite care and daycare. Furthermore, if your child is receiving social security disability benefits, they may also be eligible for home health care benefits, including respite care.
Another option is The Lifespan Respite Care Program, a federally-funded program that helps states gain access to respite care. For more information, contact the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center to inquire if there are any programs in your state. 
If you need additional assistance, feel free to fill out our contact form and we’ll do our best to assist you in any way that we can.
- Family respite services. (2018, May 12). UCP of Sacramento and Northern California.
Retrieved from: https://ucpsacto.org/programs-services/family-respite-service/
- Paying for care. (n.d.). National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Retrieved from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/paying-care
- Respite locator. (n.d.). ARCH Home. National Respite Network and Resource Center.
Retrieved from: https://archrespite.org/respitelocator