What is respite? Respite is temporary relief for family caregivers who are caring for individuals of any age who have disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses.
What are our services?
• Respite resource information and referrals for caregivers
• Education and public awareness
• State, local and federal advocacy
• Technical assistance in starting new programs
Alabama Respite™’s website, www.alabamarespite.org, provides information for caregivers and service providers wishing to learn more about our activities and programs. The website includes an interactive database of agencies that provide respite services specific to Alabama’s counties.
A toll free number, 866-RESTALA (866-737-8252), is available for easy access.
The staff is available to provide information and education through presentations to conferences, groups, organizations, churches and agencies that serve family caregivers.
With a start up grant from the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities ACDD) in 2000, and working with a task force of around 45 volunteers from state agencies, organizations and consumers, Alabama Respite™ developed a Strategic Plan to identify the respite needs of caregivers in Alabama. Alabama Respite™ continues to use that plan to direct the activities required to address the gaps and barriers caregivers face for accessing respite care.
• HEARTS Voucher Respite Program, first piloted in North Alabama by UCP in Huntsville, has successfully been replicated by the other 5 UCP affiliates throughout the state. The program serves caregivers of children up to age 19 and is funded by the Department of Child Abuse Prevention (the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama). Click here to view the list of HEARTS Voucher Respite Programs in Alabama.
• A community project, Sharing the Care, is based on the Strategic Plan and creates an opportunity for key stakeholders living in a specific area of the state to collaborate and develop respite resources and address funding needs unique to that community. The project was piloted in Limestone County in 2005 and has been successfully replicated in Jefferson/Shelby, Montgomery, Elmore, Autauga, Mobile, baldwin, Houston, and Dallas Counties. Funding has been secured (January 2012) from the Walker Area Community Foundation to begin a Sharing the Care in Walker County as well. Alabama Respite™ has created training materials for communities to begin a Sharing the Care project. If you are interested in any of these groups, or starting a Sharing the Care in your area, please contact our staff.
• Faith-based volunteer respite has been successfully replicated throughout our state as a low-cost method of service delivery. A Faith Based Coalition of special needs ministry coordinators and pastors from churches that have a respite program, was started in April 2011. This coalition will mentor other churches that wish to start a program and will provide technical assistance to Alabama Respite in developing training amterials into a 'how to' guide for faith-based start up. Click here to view a list of current faith-based programs.
• Alabama Respite™ hosted the 2007 National Respite Conference in Huntsville.
• Our advocacy efforts with the Alabama Legislature resulted in Alabama Respite™ receiving state funding beginning in 2006. The funds are administered by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.
• In 2007, the Alabama Department of Mental Health began contracting with Alabama Respite™ to manage voucher respite funding for caregivers of adults and children who have intellectual disabilities.
• Since 2009, Northeast Alabama Community Foundation has provided funding for caregivers in Calhoun County to receive voucher respite. Alabama Respite™ continues to seek foundation support to develop Sharing the Care and provide additional respite dollars for areas served by the funding source.
• In 2009, the Alabama legislature passed resolution HJR170 to establish Alabama Respite™ as "the lead entity for lifespan respite coordination in the state of Alabama" and designated Alabama Respite™ as the organizer of the Alabama Respite Coalition. Alabama Respite™ is currently working with senator Cam Ward and Representative Mac McCutcheon to submit this to the legistature as a statue.
• Our 30 member statewide coalition of stakeholders is appointed by the Governor and represents state agencies, organizations, and consumers, and allows Alabama the opportunity to address gaps and barriers to current respite resources in a productive process and limit duplication of effort when possible. Click here to view the list of Alabama Lifespan Respite Coalition members.
• Alabama was one of the first of 12 states to receive a Federal Lifespan Respite Grant in 2009. The primary goal of this grant is for the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) to work in partnership with Alabama Respite™ to provide a statewide, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to providing lifespan respite care to all Alabama family caregivers regardless of disability, illness, age, income, race, ethnicity, special needs, or situation.
• Alabama Respite™ hosts an interactive resource database on our website and provides news and information related to respite both locally and nationally, online applications for voucher respite programs, our organization’s brochures, training tools, and other caregiver resources that can easily be downloaded.
• The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), ADSS and Alabama Respite™ are currently evaluating caregiver and provider opinions and services related to access and training needs. These surveys are available on multiple Coalition websites.
• Alabama Respite™ is collaborating with Alabama Department of Senior Services and Public Health to produce an educational video for caregivers.
Alabama Respite™ is staffed by Java Bennett, UCP’s Director of Respite Services, Linda Lamberth, Program Manager and, Melissa Enfinger, Project Coordinator. Alabama Respite™ staff serves as our state’s representative to the National Respite Coalition and liaison to many state and non-profit agencies that are respite care stakeholders.