Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Care Coalition Fact Sheet

In 2006, Congress passed Lifespan Respite Care Act, PUBLIC LAW 109–442.

The act authorizes funds to states to identify, coordinate and build on federal, state and local respite resources and funding streams, and would help support, expand and streamline planned and emergency respite, provider recruitment and training, and caregiver training.

In April, 2010, parents, providers of services for people with disabilities, children and older adults, state agency representatives came together   began the task of forming The Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition.

Its mission is to promote and support access to quality respite care options that enhance the lives of individuals and families with special needs throughout the lifespan.

The coalition’s vision is that throughout Massachusetts, every individual, caregiver, or family needing respite services will have access to a seamless, statewide system that provides quality, individualized respite services that meet their needs. The coalition’s guiding principles are:

§  Every family is entitled to a highly qualified, trustworthy respite provider.

§  Every respite provider should aspire to respect and embrace cultural diversity.

§  Respite services should support families in building strength and maintaining unity.

In September, 2010, Massachusetts received a three year grant from the Administration on Aging to:

  • Further develop a statewide respite coalition consisting of family caregivers, respite providers, and members of the aging, disability and health services network
  • Improve statewide dissemination and coordination of respite care by developing a comprehensive, accessible directory of services
  • Enhance and expand the availability of Lifespan Respite Services in Massachusetts by improving training and recruitment of providers, and developing a strategic plan and List of Policy Recommendations

Proposed Grant products

1) a three-year plan for the development of a Lifespan Respite Services Program; 2) a written assessment of respite services in Massachusetts; 3) a web- and print-based directory of respite services in Massachusetts; 4) a dedicated website; 5) a set of quality and safety guidelines for respite providers; 6) a toolkit for replication of a statewide respite program, including a cost analysis; 7) a training curriculum for workers and volunteers; and 8) a list of policy recommendations  

Coalition structure

The main work of the coalition will be accomplished through committees.

The Grant Advisory committee consisting of representatives of EOEA, DDS, MS Society, Mass Health, EOHHS, ADRCs and the original respite coalition will monitor the grant activities, ensuring the goals and objectives are being met.  The Board of Directors is the governing body of the coalition. It sets the coalition’s direction, establishes committees as needed, helps recruit coalition members, and develops annual goals. Five sub committees, needs assessment, training curriculum, resource development, public information /outreach, sustainability, will to carry out the grant’s   objectives. Coalition and committees will be staffed by part time coordinator.

For more information, contact