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The National Respite Coalition, the policy division of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, advocates for legislation and administrative change at the federal level to increase funding for respite care, ensure easy access to and flexibility in services, promote person and family-centered services, encourage best practices and enhance program quality, and improve and expand the respite provider workforce.

Advocacy Tips for Contacting Members of Congress

In-person meetings are most effective

Take advantage of this district work periods when your Senators and Representatives are home. Make an appointment today and visit with them in their local offices. Contact information for U.S. House Members.  Contact information for U.S. Senators.

Share your personal caregiving story about why respite is so important to you or focus on the need for respite in your state. Share how Lifespan Respite grants have helped family caregivers pay for respite, trained new respite providers, and supported community and faith-based respite services for unserved family caregivers in your state.

Attend Town Hall Meetings or District Events

Ask your Senators and Representatives if they support family caregivers and urge them to support Lifespan Respite. 

Call

If you can't meet in-person, CALL TODAY! Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for health or disability staff. If you get their voicemail, leave a message!  

Share your personal caregiving story about why respite is so important to you or focus on the need for respite in your state. Share how Lifespan Respite grants have helped family caregivers pay for respite, trained new respite providers, and supported community and faith-based respite services for unserved family caregivers in your state.

Use Social Media

Many elected officials use social media to announce policy positions and discuss issues with constituents. You can tag your Senator's or House member's official Twitter or Facebook handles in any post you want them to see. Find their Twitter handles

Email or Fax

In-person meetings and calling are most effective, but you can also email or fax your Senators.  Contact information for U.S. House Members.  Contact information for U.S. Senators.

Follow these steps to compose your letter:

1. Address

The Honorable (Insert Full Name of Congressman)
(Room #) (Name of Building) (Senate or House) Office Building
United States (Senate or House of Representatives)
Washington, D.C. (20510 zip code for the Senate or 20515 zip code for the House)

2. Salutation

Dear Senator ___________ or Dear Represenative ____________.

3. Mention you are a Constituent and include your address after you sign your name at the bottom.

4. State your request or purpose for writing in the opening paragraph.

5. Avoid form letters and make it personal. Emphasize the importance of respite to you, community members, and the family caregivers in your state or in the Member's district.

6. Keep the content brief and focused on one issue. 

7. Do your research and include a few statistics.

  • Explain the extent of the need for respite in your state (number of family caregivers, the cost born by your state’s caregivers, waiting lists for respite, etc). 

  • Use a few statistics that describe the need and benefits of respite, the goals of the Lifespan Respite Care Program, and how the Senator/Rep. can help get funding, and be prepared to share the information.

8.  Be courteous and respectful in all communications. 

9.   Be sure to say Thank you! 

10. Write a letter of appreciation if your Senator or Representative responded positively to your request, demontrated support for a bill your are advocating for, or if they supported funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program or other caregiver supports.

11. Consider Faxing the letter.  Faxing may seem old fashioned, but it is a timely way for sharing your letter, is more effective than an email, and provides a paper record. You can find the fax numbers by going to the Member's website.