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Innovative and Exemplary:

Lutheran Services in Iowa Respite Care has offered respite to caregivers of children with disabilities and mental and emotional conditions for 19 years. Based on both research and caregiver preferences, one respite care service the program offers is a 48-hour weekend, providing caregivers with extended time for self-care. The program also offers individualized respite options in one of three settings –– the primary caregiver’s home, the respite provider’s home, or the community. The Respite Care program emphasizes the use of family-selected care providers who offer informal supports, such as neighbors, grandparents and other kinship caregivers, especially in rural parts of the state where provider availability is scarce. A consumer-directed, family-centered process of matching caregivers, care receivers, and care providers begins with a “meet and greet.” Lutheran Services in Iowa further works to hire staff who are bilingual and staff who are supportive of LGBTQ youth, for example, to meet family preferences and needs. The Respite Care program focuses on supporting care recipient participation in a wide range of activities –– school events, neighborhood block parties, camping trips, or farm life, for example. Staff training is comprehensive, supportive and especially designed to support staff in working with children with behavioral and mental health challenges. This support contributes to the low staff turnover of less than 5% annually. To learn more about Lutheran Services in Iowa Respite Care services, please visit their website.