Respite Care Law and Legal Definition

Respite care is temporary or short-term home care of a child that is provided, either for pay or on a voluntary basis, by adults other than the birthparents, foster parents, or adoptive parents that the child normally resides with, which aims to provide parents with a break from the stress of parenting and allow them to emotionally recharge themselves.

Respite care is an essential part of the overall support that families may need to keep their child with a disability or chronic illness at home. For older individuals with a disability, respite can assist in building skills needed for independent living. Since the most appropriate living situation for many adults with a disability is in a group home or other supported environment, out-of-home respite care can enable families to test this option, explore community resources and prepare themselves and their family member with a disability for this change.