Respite care is short-term care that assists a family or primary carer take a break from the daily routine and stress of their carer responsibilities. Respite can be provided in your home or in a variety of out of home settings. Respite workers are trained to care for your child’s special needs.
Currently in WA there is a shortage of respite workers and many of these workers are parents of school-aged children. To increase your chance of finding a respite worker that meets your needs and those of your child we suggest:
- Be direct about your preferred times, but flexible in accepting alternate times
- If you are going through an agency, be prepared to go on a wait list. Phone each week and you’ll move to the top of the list a lot faster.
- Be prepared that it may take some time to find a worker that meets your core values & needs. Click here for interview questions.
- Having a vision statement for your child, a carer information booklet (on your child’s needs, communication, feeding, positioning, bathing, toileting, play activities, favourite games and toys) and a daily activity planner will help your chosen respite carer provide the best care possible for your child. In the early stages, spend time with your child and chosen carer so that you are confident that both your needs and your child’s needs are being met.
Charmaine says: “The reality is that NOT taking a break is something we can’t afford to put off. For many of us the carer role is a round-the-clock experience and eventually, over time our own energy is depleted. We can’t keep giving to someone we love if there is nothing left to give…we need time to ourselves and a break from our responsibilities – this helps us recharge, carry on and keep our sanity.”
Lee says: “For many months I didn’t even know respite existed and couldn’t fathom that any ‘babysitter’ or ordinary ‘childcare’ worker could both cope with Asialee’s needs and offer her the care that she both needs and desires. I had no idea that many agencies exist to offer kids with special needs and families the kind of support that both meets their special needs as well as their social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs. To make these agencies easy for you to find we have listed them all below.”
If you are privately employing a respite worker, it’s important to seek a police clearance certificate and ask the respite worker if they have a working with children check clearance. Click here for interview questions and an employment contract template. Alternatively, view are Child Care page for specific questions for home based and out-of-home child care.
If you are registered with the Disability Services Commission, then check with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to see if they can assist you with finding suitable respite options in your local area. If you are a member of an association, your association may offer respite information, workers or funding so it is worthwhile contacting the social work department and asking if this service is available to you.
Carers WA Provides useful information to carers in selecting a respite/child care worker for your child with special needs, as well as links to respite agencies. They often run carer camps, movie days/nights and respite breaks for carers.
Commonwealth Carelink Centres are a free National information service, providing information to people with disabilities and their carers on community disability care services. The aim of the service is to enhance independent living in the community by people with disabilities to local community care services. Commonwealth carelink can assist with in-home care, respite and financial assistance to fund care agencies.
Community Vision WA Offers affordable family day care options for siblings and in-home respite as well as vacation respite workers to travel and assist on holidays and for recreational pursuits.
DSC WA Disability Services Commission provides families of high need children with a Local Area Co-ordinator (LAC). Your LAC can assist with linking you to agencies that can provide in and out of home respite, domestic assistance and may be able to assist you with funding.
I.D. Entity WA Offers in-home and out-of-home respite services and camps for adolescents.
Kids’ Camps Inc WA offers six-day camps for students with an intellectual disability. The camps provide participants with opportunities for recreation and social interaction, and respite for families and carers. They also offer weekend camps, departing Friday afternoon, returning Sunday afternoon. These less formal breaks take place just outside the metropolitan area, usually not more than an hour from Perth.
Lady Lawley WA Respite home providing overnight and weekly respite for children with special needs. Care is given by trained nurses, trained to cope with complex and diverse needs and fees are nominal. This home offers a million-dollar sensory room, herb garden, play room and craft room and these facilities may be utilised by visitors at management’s discretion.
Perth Homecare Services WA Provides carers, respite and domestic assistance to people with disabilities and their carers and is HAAC funded so those eligible for government assistance may access services for little or no charge.
Red Cross Provides Australia wide services in emergency respite assistance, family support, respite homes, in-home respite care and MORE.
Rocky Bay WA Charity that provides in-home and out-of-home respite and domestic assistance to children and adults with disabilities with a particular focus on neuro-muscular and other neurological conditions.
Silver Chain WA Offer in-home respite, as well as in-home self-care assistance to enable West Australians with special needs, frail and aged to live independently.
TCCP WA The center for cerebral palsy (respite department) offers small grants to families to assist with in-home respite, vacations and can offer advice to members.
Wanslea WA Offer in-home respite and a range of other services including counseling and social supports.