COVID-19 Case Study: St. Louis Arc’s Assistance with Residential Care in the Home Respite Care

The St. Louis Arc’s ARCH (Assistance with Residential Care in the Home) Respite Care program is a consumer-directed respite service that helps a person with developmental disabilities live at home by providing intermittent, short-term relief to primary caregivers. It is one of the largest and longest running programs of this type in the United States.

The program is open to any age person in St. Louis County and to people 3 years of age and older in St. Louis City who with a diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability such as autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or brain injury that occurred before the age of 22. Specialized services are provided to children and adults with medical or high behavioral support needs in addition to their other developmental disability. Each year, more than 1,400 families in St. Louis County, and over 200 families in St. Louis City are served. Primary caregivers are reimbursed for respite services they receive in their own home or the home of a care provider. Registered families can use the ARCH care provider listing or find potential caregivers on their own.

The model is one of family-driven supports, implemented through a family reimbursement model paired with St. Louis Arc’s comprehensive family supports, information and resources and planning tools. Families are engaged in planning that includes not just how to successfully access and use respite care, but also what are the goals they want to accomplish through respite.


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