We love our children with disabilities, but we also need to take care of ourselves in order to be good caregivers for them. Sometimes this means we need to reach out to the community for help.
Respite care means getting rest and relief from the hard job we do raising children with disabilities. So what are some options?
Respite services provided by your county may be more readily availability than the state program, which may have long waiting periods. Border Region Behavioral Health Center covers one of the Rio Grande Valley counties, Starr. It is a nonprofit, Texas contract agency. They have a few different programs with different qualifications depending on the age and disability. Their site is pretty easy to navigate. If you click the "Services" tab it shows the area and the programs.
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health covers the other counties in this region. Their website is easy to navigate and you will find the "Services" tab at the top of the page. They also offer different services for different qualifications and available funding. These are a few of the available options in the community.
The former Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) has a website called Take Time Texas. It can help you locate respite providers in your community. You can learn more about respite on this site and search for programs and providers in your area based on the age of your child and their care needs.
Medicaid Waiver programs offer respite as a service. Most, if not all, waiver programs have waiting lists (called “interest lists”). These services might take a while to begin. Home and Community Services Program (HCS) is a great place to start and has one of the longest waiting lists, so the quicker you put your child's name on it, the better.
The next program is called the Community Living Assistance and Support Services Program (CLASS). Both of these programs have many services along with respite care. This last program has a shorter waiting list and it is called the Medically Dependent Children’s Program (MDCP).
When your child's name comes up to the top of the interest list, they will have to go through a qualification process. Availability of state funding determines the services offered. It is never too early to put your child on waiver interest lists. It is a good place to start for help with services and respite in the future.
Many people will benefit from using respite care. For additional services, check out the Find Services, Groups and Events on this website.
When you have a child with a disability, you may have some expenses throughout the year that qualify for a deduction or credit on your tax return. Don’t wait until April to understand what’s required to support these claims.
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When my daughter was eight years old, my sister, who was a case manager for a Home and Community-based Services (HCS) program, told me to get my daughter’s name on “the list.” At that moment, I had no idea how important it would be for her future.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.