Program expansion provides respite funding for special needs children

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SURREY, B.C. – With the expansion of a program, more than 1,300 additional families with children who have special needs will benefit from respite services by qualified caregivers.

As of March 31, 2018, approximately 3,900 families were receiving respite services. This program expansion will provide for 1,300 additional families and provide an increase in the base funding amount each family can receive.

“We’ve heard how incredibly important respite care is for families,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Parents can get so caught up caring for a loved one that they forget to take time for themselves. They often don’t have the luxury of asking a friend, neighbour or relative to step in for them. Respite offers them a chance to recharge and the peace of mind that comes from having a skilled professional they can count on with the training to meet their child’s unique care needs.”

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Respite funding allows eligible families to purchase services from a qualified person who will care for the child while the parents attend to other family priorities. Services are provided in the child’s home, the respite caregiver’s home or within the community. Eligibility is not based on a specific diagnosis. Children may be eligible for the program if they are assessed as dependent in at least three of four areas of daily living (washing, bathroom assistance, eating and dressing), or have a palliative condition.

According to the government, once families become eligible for respite funding, they are also able to access a range of other programs, including access to a child and youth care worker, behaviour supports, parenting skills training, counselling, housekeeping and life-skills programs for children.

Government is developing a new plan to better support children and youth with special needs and their families. It will guide how the ministry invests in and delivers services for children and youth with special needs, and will roll out in spring 2020.

The $6.3-million boost to the Province’s respite program was announced in Budget 2019, and changes began to come into effect April 1, 2019. Five million dollars is being used to provide respite services for families who had previously been on the waiting list. The remaining $1.3 million is increasing the base annual funding amount each family can receive from $2,800 to $3,080, marking the first increase in respite funding since 1989.

For more information on services available; CLICK HERE

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