The funding is available statewide with no income requirements.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services has received a $1.3 million grant from the federal Administration for Community Living to fund respite care for full-time caregivers through its Arkansas Lifespan Respite Care program.
Lifespan respite care is a short-term break for primary caregivers, ranging from a few hours in the day to a few days. Respite care can be provided in-home or out-of-home in camps, a health care facility or day center, according to a press release. Lifespan respite includes care for recipients of any age or diagnosis. Those being cared for can be children with serious health issues or a disability, or adults dealing with issues such as Alzheimer’s or cancer.
“This grant funding allows us to continue to meet the critical needs of caregivers in Arkansas through respite services,” said Martina Smith, director of the Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance at DHS.
The need for respite care is important because when family caregivers experience a decline in their own physical or emotional health, the person they have been caring for is at increased risk for hospitalization and institutionalization.
Funding to hire respite caregivers or pay for specialized respite programs for clients is made available statewide through a network of community organizations who partner with DHS and the Lifespan Respite program.
The respite program has been in place for several years. In 2013, DHS and other respite community providers and advocates across the state began meeting to form the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition. A respite summit was held that year bringing together stakeholders statewide who were interested in improving respite services and seeking out funding opportunities.
DHS, in partnership with the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition, was awarded its first federal Lifespan Respite Grant in 2014 and then again in 2018. Arkansas received supplemental funding in 2019 to enhance respite services. This new grant continues these services.