DCF: Become an Authorized Respite Provider

Become an Authorized Respite Provider

{twin teen girls picture} What is respite care?
Respite care is a support service for families licensed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Respite care is a planned, scheduled period of rest and relief from the responsibilities of parenting a foster child(ren) whose legal guardian is DCF.

Why is there a need for respite care?
Parenting can be stressful and respite care allows the foster parent time to rest.  Respite care may also be needed when foster parents have an emergency situation in their own family.

Who can provide respite care?
A person known by the licensed foster parent and approved by the child’s social worker can provide respite care.

  • Licensed foster parents in good standing can provide respite care.
  • A person authorized by the department to provide respite care upon completion of an authorization process can provide respite care.
NOTE: Any type of Respite Provider must meet Department standards for safety that are verified through a criminal and Child Protective Service check.

What is the authorization process?
The Authorization process includes the screening and assessment of the family and all household members, a review of required documents, and completion of a brief training on the roles and responsibilities of respite care providers.  The requirements are very similar to the licensing process for foster and adoptive parents.

Are there different types of respite care?
Yes. Some respite care providers will only care for a specific child they know.  Others will provide care only for children placed in a specific foster family they know.   Others will provide respite care for any child from any foster family in their community.

How long does the respite provider keep the child?
The Authorized Respite Providers can care for a child up to 14 consecutive days and for up to a total of 90 days in a calendar year.

Are respite providers required to be at home full-time?
Respite providers who are employed or otherwise occupied for a substantial amount of time away from the home, may provide respite care if the child can remain with his or her existing licensed or authorized day care provider while the respite provider is out of the home.  Otherwise, the respite provider must be home to care for children during their stay.

How long is the process?
You can expect to begin and end the authorization process within four months, including the screening, home interviews, training, review and approval.

Do Respite Providers receive information about the child?
The respite care providers are given a written profile on the child describing the child’s routines, level of supervision needed, and important phone numbers.  They are also given appropriate clothing and a medical care card along with other supplies as needed, e.g.  diapers, special formula, car seat, medication, special equipment.

What is the reimbursement for providing respite care?
The respite providers are given $25.00 per day for each child.  When caring for children complex medical needs, the rate per day is $44.38.

How long does the authorization last?
The authorization is for a period of 2 years, with renewal possible every two years.

Is there any special procedure to provide respite care to children with complex medical needs?
Yes. Any person who has been authorized to provide respite care and who wishes to provide respite care to children with complex medical needs must also complete additional training prior to the child’s arrival in the respite home.

How do I get started?
The Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents (CAFAP) has been contracted by the Department of Children and Families to train, and study families or individuals interested in becoming authorized respite care providers.  Once CAFAP completes the process with a family, a written recommendation is sent to DCF for final approval.  Contact the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents at 1-800-861-8838.  You may also receive information at www.cafap.com (external link).