Why Have A Respite Ministry? (Part 2)

Okay. So, you’re sold on respite, or at least you’re considering launching a program. So, what’s next? Pray. Pray for God’s wisdom and direction in this process.

One of the first things to look at is what types/models of respite are currently being offered in the community. Ask parents in your congregation what type of respite they most desire. Based on existing services and felt needs, determine in what direction you are headed – site based, home care, respitality weekend, co-op, or camp model. Here are some basic planning steps:

  1. PRAY.
  2. Identify leadership team.
  3. Develop mission/vision and program goals.
  4. Determine expenses/revenue.
  5. Program policy considerations
  6. Strategy of getting the word out

Having been part of numerous respite programs and models over the past 13 years at Access, leaders often ask what policies and procedures should be in place. The following are taken from a workshop I conducted, “The Road to Respite”:

  • Application Process (for volunteers/staff)
    • Will it include character references and background checks on all adults?
  • Medical
    • Protocol for emergencies and non-medical emergencies
    • Will there be medical staff?
    • Handling of medications, equipment, or complex medical needs
  • Safety
    • Check in/check out
    • Staff/participant ratio
    • Evacuation plan
    • Programmatic elements and level of risk
  • Sickness
    • Well-defined sick policy
    • Response to sickness during programming
  • Behavioral Emergencies/Management
    • What types of behaviors are allowed?
    • Are there behaviors that can’t be supported?
    • Development of positive behavioral supports
  • Child/Participant Protection Policies
    • Personal care/toilet issues
    • Boundary issues
    • Never alone wtih child or participant
  • Program Requirements
    • Admittance into program
    • Age of participants
    • Types of disabilities
    • Level of care

For more information on designing, planning, and implementing respite programs, do not hesitate to contact me at Jackie Mills-Fernald.

Additional Respite Resources

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