COVID-19 Case Study: ChildServe Respite Services (Iowa)

The needs and priorities of caregivers and their children are foremost in the development of respite options offered by ChildServe (CS) including individual and group respite services. Caregivers with children birth to 25 years with a wide range of needs, including complex medical, autism, behavioral, and physical disabilities, can receive planned respite through ChildServe.

The respite can be in-home, center-based, community-based, or at summer camp according to the families’ requirements. Their person-and family-centered approach is unquestionable. The respite providers, which include non-licensed care providers and in some cases nurses, are carefully screened and trained. Recognizing that some caregivers and their children feel more comfortable in the care of someone they are familiar with, provided they meet strict screening guidelines, ChildServe will hire and train providers identified by the caregivers.

ChildServe helps parents access funds to pay for the respite through home and community service waivers. ChildServe collects outcome data and has implementation guidelines that can be used for replication. Learn more about their outcomes, service model, and implementation procedures on their website.1

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Iowa started limiting the size of gatherings and closed day programming for adults. In accordance with these changes, ChildServe suspended the group respite program in mid-March since this space was needed to address other COVID-19 service needs (e.g., social distancing) that were ongoing including long term care. ChildServe continued individual respite services provided in the home and addressed staff and family needs.


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