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What is Respite?

Have you ever wondered what the Respite Program does and how respite works?

Respite, by one of the definitions found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means an interval of rest or relief. For families served by the Developmental Disabilities Association’s Respite Program, it means a brief break from caring for their loved one with a developmental disability. It gives the family some free time to run errands, catch up on sleep, go on a vacation or do whatever they need to relax, or simply get some things done!

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD ) and Community Living BC (CLBC ) fund a set number of respite hours for each family annually. The Respite Program recruits caregivers who are screened to ensure they are qualified to work with individuals with developmental disabilities. Caregivers are introduced to families and then matched to according to compatibility and availability. Respite Caregivers are independent contractors.

There are three streams in the Respite Program: Group Respite for Children and Adults, 1:1 Children’s Respite Program and 1:1 Adult Respite. Within the 1:1 program, caregivers may provide the individuals with fun activities in the community or at home once or twice a week. Sometimes caregivers will host individuals, while the family goes away on vacation. Group Respite, is set up to provide organized activities for small groups of children and adults, led by an Activity Worker, who facilitates groups and offers opportunities to engage in community-based activities like swimming and bowling together.


Respite, in summary, is a much needed break for the family – and a great opportunity for some fun for their loved one! We are always looking for good caregivers! Are you interested in providing respite? Please contact us at 604.327.9111 or respite@develop.bc.ca.

By Terry Schenkel