The needs of children with developmental disabilities are as diverse as the families who care for them. JFCS strives to provide a wide range of options to assist families in meeting the needs of their children while maintaining the stability and wellbeing of the whole family. The JFCS Self-Hired Respite Care service provides support for families who are facing challenges in caring for their children with developmental disabilities, and gives families short-term relief from their daily care responsibilities. This time can be used to care for other families members, run errands, or take a much-needed break.
Self-hired respite gives parents the option of hiring someone they already know and trust to provide care for their child. It also helps families who are concerned that they may be “wearing out their welcome” with unpaid caregivers. Self-Hired Respite enables families to compensate these natural supports, which are critical on the journey of caring for a family member with developmental disabilities. JFCS provides this service to New Jersey families living in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties. Self-Hired Respite allows families to hire their own caregiver – perhaps a neighbor, relative, or friend – to care for their child. Families may utilize up to 60 hours of care within a 90-day period. This program is funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and administered by NJ PerformCare. Eligible families should contact NJ PerformCare at 877-652-7624. Families must not be receiving any other form of respite at the same time as this service. Families must also renew their Family Support Application with NJ PerformCare every year by calling the above-referenced number.
Once families have been approved by DCF for this service, they will meet with the JFCS Respite Coordinator to complete all necessary intake forms. At this point the family may begin utilizing their respite hours. Hours may be used on a regular basis or all at once within the 90-day period, at the discretion of the family. Any hours that are not during the 90 days cannot be carried over into the next 90-day period. Families may hire any caregiver over the age of 18 who is able to provide the level of care required by the child (not including the parents themselves). Anyone who is hired must complete a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and a Mantoux test (TB Test) within 60 days of hire. Services will be suspended if these requirements are not met. To get started, please contact Dina Sassano or Sydney Breslow at (856) 424-1333 ext. 1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Families will receive Monthly Submission forms and a Progress note Form in order to document their use of respite hours. The Progress notes are completed by the caregiver, noting the dates and hours worked as well as notes about activities or care provided. The Monthly Submission form is signed by the parent or guardian to verify that the information is correct. They will submit the form to JFCS each month within 15 days of its monthly due date. Once JFCS receives the proper documentation, a check will be mailed to the family with which they can pay the caregiver.