Frequently Asked Questions

What is the approval criteria for a scholarship?

First step is to fill out an online application. Once we receive your application, we will review it to determine how much respite care you can receive. This is determined by several factors, including, but not limited to, your needs and specific situation, your ability to pay for respite on your own, any funding you might already have - or have applied for - and current funding available from Special Needs Respite. The narrative portion of the application is especially important in helping us determine your scholarship. If you don't need a scholarship, we recomment YourRespite, which does special needs childcare if you are self-pay or have the NOW/COMP waiver, or other funding.

Once I am approved, who provides my caregiver?

Special Needs Respite will pay any qualified caregiver for services (it will require a clean background check and current CPR and First Aid certification), and recommends you continue to use your current provider, since they are most familiar with your child. However, if you need help finding a caregiver, Special Needs respite will work with you during the intake process to help you find one. If you have been using a caregiver, or want to find your own, Special Needs Respite will reimburse them directly for their services to you via online invoice. Have your caregiver visit the Caregiver Portal to apply and then to invoice for payment.

If I have my own caregiver, can I use them, or do I have to use Your Respite?

You may certainly use your own caregiver as long as they have a clean background check and are certified in first aid and CPR. In fact, because your child might be familiar and comfortable with a caregiver, we encourage you to continue to use whoever works best with your child.

If I don't have a caregiver already, where can I find one?

If you need help finding a caregiver, Special Needs respite will work with you during the intake process to help you find one. There are agencies who can help with this as well, and Special Needs Respite also has relationships with vetted providers to assist.

How does my caregiver get paid?

The caregiver, or the caregiver's agent, needs to invoice Special Needs Respite with the date and hours of care, along with the amount that Special Needs Respite is responsible for. For convenience, your caregiver can register and invoice Special Needs Respite via the Caregiver Portal.

What kind of scholarship will I receive - that is, how much money?

Currently, the scholarship is, on average, $400. This money can then be used to pay caregivers however you choose - all at once, or several shorter breaks. The funds are available for 4 months, after which any unused funds are no longer available. You can re-apply for another scholarship up to four times a year (awards are awarded on the 1st of the month).

How often do I need to I apply for, or receive a scholarship?

The funds from a scholarship are available for 4 months, after which any unused funds are no longer available. You can re-apply for another scholarship up to four times a year (awards are awarded on the 1st of the month).

Do I have to be below a certain income level to apply or receive a scholarship?

Typically not - often families have more than enough income, but their circumstances as parents of special needs children can sap that income, putting stress on them financially. However, if you are able to afford more out-of-pocket, that can help other families with more financial need.

Can I get a scholarship even if my child is over 18?

Currently, Special Needs Respite only provides scholarships for care for children under 18 years of age. If your child is 18 or over, other state programs become available, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration.

Why am I asked to help Special Needs Respite raise money?

Special Needs Respite relies on donations to fund it's scholarship fund, and often the best way to spread the word is for scholarship recipients to reach out to their friends, families, and co-workers. This isn't just paying it forward, but will help prevent any scholarship freezes due to low funding.

If I already have a funding source (such as NOW waiver), can I still receive a scholarship from Special Needs Respite to get even more respite care?

If you do have funds from other programs, rather than apply for a scholarship, please head over to YourRespite, which can provide care under the banner of such programs. Typically, if you already receive funding for respite care through other programs, Special Needs Respite's funds would likely be more valuable to those who do not have such a funding source. However, each case is different, so in your application, please note your circumstances and why you would still need additional sources of funding for care. Special Needs Respite strongly urges parents to apply for funds from these other sources, even if they get put on a waiting list. In fact, applying for such programs will be helpful in getting approved for a scholarship.

What disabilities are considered "Special Needs?" Is there some approved list of disabilities?

Special needs is indeed a broad category, ranging from mildly autistic to fully paralyzed and on a feeding tube. Special Needs Respite will consider any child along this continuum for consideration. As such, there is no "approved list" of diagnoses. For the purposes of a scholarship, if you consider your child special needs, by all means fill out an application. Part of that process involves listing your child's diagnosis, and a narrative portion where you can describe your situation.

What exactly does Special Needs Respite do?

Special Needs Respite, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity operating in the state of Georgia that pays qualified caregivers or agencies to provide respite childcare for special needs children so their parents (the usual 24/7 caregivers of the child) can get a break. Special Needs Respite does not provide caregivers or render actual care; we have no caregivers on staff or on contract. We do have relationships with approved respite care providers in case parents do not already have a caregiver for their child.

What geographical areas do you serve?

Currently, Special Needs Respite serves the metro Atlanta area. Areas outside of that, while the needs are just as great, unfortunately are out of our scope. We are not a large organization, and with limited funds available we need to limit the areas we serve. Our vision would be to expand our service areas as we grow.

What is your policy if I have more than one child that needs care?

Currently, scholarships are awarded per family rather than per child, as we are not a large organization and funding is limited. However, if you have more than one child with special needs, you can certainly use scholarship funds to pay for childcare for any number of children.