DPHHS Receives Lifespan Respite Grant
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) was recently awarded a 3 year, $180,000 grant to develop and implement a Lifespan Respite (LR) program statewide. The funding for the new program comes through the Administration on Aging and the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006. DPHHS applied for the grant following the successful Lifespan Respite Summit in March of 2011, which brought together 75 participants from across the state to begin planning on how to develop and implement a lifespan respite model in Montana.
The goal of the Lifespan Respite Care Act is to create respite programs that are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children or adults with special needs. Thus, LR programs are designed to serve any caregiver who is providing supervision and support for a family member, regardless of age, disability or special needs. The Lifespan Respite Care Program is intended to enable states to better coordinate existing respite services, identify service gaps and create and monitor new respite services. It also provides opportunities to recruit, train and support paid and volunteer respite providers and raise public awareness about the need for and importance of respite services.
The Aging Services Bureau will coordinate the grant with the four other major respite programs within DPHHS. The following are the current programs that fund respite within DPHHS: seniors over 60 and grandparents over 55 through the Aging Services Bureau and seniors over 60 or an adult with a physical disability through the Medicaid Waiver program, both in the Senior and Long Term Care Division; child or adult with a developmental disability and children with a Serious Emotional Disturbance in therapeutic family homes, both in the Disabilities Services Division (DSD); adults who have a Serious Disabling Mental Illness through the Addictive and Mental Disorders (AMDD); and children in family foster care through the Child and Family Services Division(CFSD).
The grant will be managed by Kerrie Reidelbach, the ADRC coordinator in the Aging Services Bureau. DPHHS has contracted with the Developmental Educational Assistance Program (DEAP) of Miles City to help implement the grant. DEAP has been providing lifespan respite since 1998, and is the only current program in the state using the lifespan respite model. Vicki Clear of DEAP will be coordinating the statewide Lifespan Respite Coalition.
The specific goal of DPHHS’ grant is to build the infrastructure for a sustainable lifespan respite program in collaboration with the Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition and Montana’s ADRC network that makes respite services in frontier Montana accessible to all caregivers. The grant objectives are to:
- work with interested parties to develop a viable statewide LR coalition;
- assess caregiver needs for respite and increase the ability of respite providers to meet these needs using a LR model;
- reduce programmatic barriers to the provision of respite through Department funded respite programs;
- develop a statewide website with a database identifying respite providers, eligibility requirements, and funding sources for respite so caregivers can access information to make informed decisions about respite care; and
- increase caregivers’ and the public’s awareness about the need for and availability of respite.