Legislative History of Lifespan Respite Care Program

Lifespan Respite Care Program Reauthorization Act of 2020 (H.R. 8906) Became Law on January 5, 2021. Public Law No: 116-324.

HR 8906, introduced by Rep.  Jim Langevin in the House on December 9, 2020, was a compromise bill that had originally passed the Senate in February 2020 as S 995 as amended (see actions in Legislative History below).

This bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care Program through FY2024 at $10 million annually . The bill requires each state agency that is awarded a grant under the program to report any data required by the Department of Health and Human Services for program monitoring and evaluation.

HR 8906 passed the House unanimously on December 10, 2020 and passed the Senate unanimously on December 18, 2020. The bill was signed into law on January 5, 2021 (P.L. Public Law No: 116-324).

Public Law PL116-324, Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act of 2020

Enrolled Bill

House Engrossed Bill

Congressional Record, December 10, 2020

Rep. Langevin's Press Release

Senator Baldwin's Press Release

Legislative History

Summary of Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act (Public Law No: 116-324)

(changes from original law in italics):

Use of Funds:

The Lifespan Respite Program law authorizes competitive grants to eligible state agencies in collaboration with a public or private non-profit state respite coalition or organization to make quality respite available and accessible to family caregivers regardless of age or disability. Aging and Disability Resource Centers must be involved as collaborators as well. The law allows grantees to identify, coordinate and build on federal, state and local respite resources and funding streams, and would help support, expand and streamline planned and emergency respite, provider recruitment and training, and caregiver training. Grantees will have the option of using funds for training programs for family caregivers in making informed decisions about respite services; for other services essential to the provision of respite; and for training and education for new caregivers.

Definition of Lifespan Respite Care

The Act defines lifespan respite care as a coordinated system of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children and adults with special needs.

Definition of Respite Care

The Act defines Respite Care as planned or emergency care provided to a child or adult with a special need in order to provide temporary relief to the family caregiver of that child or adult.

Lead Agency Eligibility

Funds are provided through a competitive grant process to specified state agencies or a state government agency appointed by the Governor. The state lead entity must involve an Aging and Disability Resource Center and work in collaboration with a public or private nonprofit statewide respite coalition or organization. A memorandum of agreement with the state respite coalition or statewide respite organization is required in the application. Priority would be given to applicants who show the greatest likelihood of implementing or enhancing lifespan respite care statewide.

Who Can Access Lifespan Respite Programs?

Caregivers who are family members, foster parents, other adults providing unpaid (clarified in report language) who care for an adult or child with a special need may access these programs.

Adult with special need is defined broadly as a person 18 years of age or older who requires care or supervision to meet the person's basic needs, to prevent physical self-injury or injury to others, or to avoid placement in an institutional facility.

A child with a special need is a person less than 18 years of age who requires care or supervision beyond that required of children generally to meet the child's basic needs or prevent physical self-injury or injury to others.

Application Submission

The Governor submits application on behalf of the State Agency that administers the Older American's Act, the State's Medicaid program, or another agency designated by the Governor.

Federal Administration

Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to work in cooperation with the National Family Caregiver Support Program Officer of the Administration on Aging and other respite care programs within the Department to ensure coordination of respite for family caregivers.

Funding Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020 through fiscal year 2024.

National Resource Center

Establishes National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care

State Reports


(a) Each State agency awarded a grant or cooperative agreement under section 2902 shall report such data, information, and metrics as the Secretary may require for purposes of‚ÄĒ
(1) evaluating State programs and activities funded pursuant to such grant or cooperative agreement, including any results pursuant to section 2902(d)(2)(B)(xii); and
(2) identifying effective programs and activities funded pursuant to section 2902.
(b) REPORT.‚ÄĒNot later than October 1, 2023, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives regarding the outcomes of the programs and activities funded pursuant to section 2902, including any effective programs and activities identified.