New Law Aims To Expand Access To Respite Care

Federal funding to support respite care for families of those with disabilities and other special needs will increase dramatically under legislation signed by President Donald Trump this month. The measure known as the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act increases funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program to $10 million annually through the 2024 fiscal year. The program supports a system of community-based respite care services across the country. Previously, funding for the effort stood at just $2.5 million per year. With Trump’s signature, the bipartisan legislation renews a law that dates back to 2006. Since that time, 41 states have received grants to create resources and help ensure that respite care is available to family caregivers, according to lawmakers behind the bill.

There are an estimated 53 million family caregivers across the country providing some $470 billion worth of unpaid care each year and the vast majority have not received any respite services, the lawmakers said.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the social isolation and economic insecurity felt by family caregivers and their loved ones, with devastating effects on their health and wellness. Respite may be their only lifeline,” said Jill Kagan, director of the ARCH National Respite Network, which helps administer the federal government’s respite care efforts. “The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through very modest investments, allows states the flexibility and creativity to make sure family caregivers of children and adults are receiving quality respite services, even during COVID-19.”

- by Michelle Diament | January 14, 2021 | Disability Scoop


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