How to Become a Respite Provider
ARCH does not hire, train or credential respite providers, but the following information and resources from ARCH may help guide you as you start up a new respite service or plan to become an independent respite provider or one hired by an agency or program.
Contact your State Respite Coalition or Lifespan Respite Grantee
If your state has one, reach out to your state Lifespan Respite Program or State Respite Coalition. They may be able to provide information specific to your state about how to provide respite services or direct you to the best state and local resources. Many are recruiting and training respite providers, and some may have their own state respite registries where you can be listed as a respite care provider if you meet their qualifications.
Medicaid and State Funded Respite
The first thing to do is to become familiar with any licensing, registration or training requirements in your state. These are set by the state agency that administers the funds that you might receive in payment to cover eligible families. For example, if you were willing to accept Medicaid clients, you would be subject to the specific Medicaid requirements in your state. Some states require all those who accept Medicaid payment to be Medicaid certified providers. Respite paid for by Medicaid is most frequently offered through a home and community-based Medicaid waiver. Each state Medicaid waiver has its own requirements for respite providers. For licensing or training requirements tied to funding sources from different state agencies, such as aging, disabilities, public health or child welfare, you would have to contact each agency.
If you are planning to do respite in your home or open a respite center, regardless of how families are paying for care, you might also have to meet state group home, foster home or child care licensing requirements depending on who you will be serving. You may want to take a look at the ARCH Start-up manuals for further information. There is a charge for these documents.
Using volunteers to provide respite or staff your service is another option. To see how to start a volunteer respite program, see the ARCH Volunteer Respite Manual. Many aspects of a volunteer program apply to start-up of other respite programs so you may also find this document useful. We have limited hard copies available at no charge. Partnering with a faith community for funding, space or for volunteers may be another strategy.
If you choose to do this on your own, as an independent provider, in addition to respite registries maintained by some State Respite Coalitions or Lifespan Respite Programs, there are several online provider registries where you can list your information and families can search for your availability and qualifications. Families using these services are most likely to self-pay. We do not endorse any one online registry over another, but feel free to check them out for yourself: Care.com, CareLinx, and Rewarding Work. Alternatively, you can apply to work for a home care agency that employs respite workers. To find home care agencies near you, visit the National Association for Home Care and Hospice agency locator.
The National Adult Day Services Association has information on how to start an Adult Day Center.
The Respite Care Association of Wisconsin has a KIT (Knowledge, Ideas, and Tools) for Respite Providers. KIT offers online courses, information sheets, discussion boards, and files to provide information on being a respite provider. KIT information will continue to be updated.
Respite Provider Training Opportunities
ARCH provides a list of possible respite provider training opportunities, including a link to a national competency-based online training for entry-level respite providers that has been field tested by ARCH in collaboration with the National Academy for State Health Policy and the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin.
Providing Safe, Appropriate and Quality Services
You can also download free of charge the ARCH National Respite Guidelines to provide some assistance in developing a high quality respite service. You might also find the ARCH Respite Fact Sheets that focus on the respite needs of specific populations helpful as you consider the type of service you are planning to provide. These are also available for download at no charge.
Finally, to provide respite safely during the pandemic, see ARCH’s National Voluntary Guidelines for Providing or Using Respite Safely During the Pandemic.
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