Family Support Services

Family Support Services were designed to help families care for a relative with a developmental disability at home. The goal of any Family Support program is to maintain family unity, enhance caregiver skills and prevent out of home placement.

What are some common Family Support Services?

Respite: Respite provides a break for the caregiver and family member. Many parents resist using respite services or worry that use of the service indicates a lack of love for their child. The reality is that most children love the chance to get away from home, meet new friends, and just have some time away from mom and dad. Respite can occur in your home or at another location or a “free standing” respite.

Family Training: Getting any child to use the bathroom is tough enough. When the child has special needs it can be even more challenging. Family trainings are often conducted in the home so your child is familiar with the environment. Some trainings can also assist with behavioral issues and relationships with others. Family trainings are not just focused on the child. Support groups and parent trainings can also help the rest of the family.

Cash Subsidies: Private insurance and Medicaid do not cover many items needed for your child. Funding for diapers, specialized equipment, orthopedic shoes, etc. are often provided through these funding programs. Many restrictions often apply so be sure to check with your state programs to see if you qualify.  

Recreation Services: These services offer children a place to learn and socialize with others outside of the school setting. Day and overnight camps specializing in disabilities offer children the chance to have the same opportunities as others. Many recreation programs are also offered after school or on weekends.

How are Family Support Services Funded?

The majority of money for these programs comes from state and federal funding. This means that eligibility may be based on income or the needs of the child. Many agencies do supplement the funding for the programs through fundraising and donations, so be sure to check with each agency for their requirements.