There are both in-home and out-of-home respite services. For in-home respite services, a provider from an approved program comes into the home, or takes the child out into the community, for a few hours to give the family a needed break. The number of hours and frequency of the visits varies depending on each situation. Out-of-home respite is an overnight service. It can be provided by a residential respite program or a treatment foster care home. Typically out-of-home respite is provided for one or two nights at a time, with varying frequency.
A child’s family can be eligible to receive respite services through different avenues. One is the 1915(i) Medicaid State Plan Amendment. If a child is enrolled in the 1915(i), their family is entitled to receive respite services.
- be Medicaid eligible (in a few jurisdictions, there are a limited number of slots for families who are not on Medicaid)
- be in active mental health treatment
- live in an area where there is a respite provider
In order to access respite services, a child’s clinician must make the determination that respite services would be appropriate and either directly refer the family to a respite provider, or make a referral for services to the local Core Service Agency (CSA), which is required in certain jurisdictions. The respite provider or CSA will determine eligibility and seek authorization for payment of services. Even if a child is found eligible, there may be a waiting list to receive respite services. Waiting lists can be for an indefinite period of time.
BHA recognizes that there continues to be a shortage of funding and providers to meet the respite needs of caregivers of children with behavioral health needs. MCF is working with BHA and respite providers to address the problem and develop solutions to expand respite services in Maryland. If you’ve had experience with accessing respite services, either positive or negative, please contact MCF Director of Public Policy Ann Geddes at email@example.com so that this information can be shared with the appropriate staff at BHA.