HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) —
The program provides active duty Air Force families with short-term, specialized childcare to reduce the stressors associated with caring for a child with exceptional needs. It is exclusively connected to EFMP families coded for moderate and severe needs.
“For anyone in the position of being a caregiver, being able to step away to run errands, go to the gym, or just take a break is a huge help and benefit for their family,” said Robin Morris, 66th Force Support Squadron community childcare coordinator.
Morris emphasized that the Respite Care program is not a replacement for everyday childcare. The program allows up to 40 hours of care per month for both EFMP children and their siblings up to 13 years old at no cost to families.
“It can be so difficult to find, retain and afford reliable care for your children, especially when there are special needs and you’re working around deployments and permanent change of station moves,” said Kristy Anderson, an EFMP family member with two children. “The respite program does a lot of good for so many military families.”
While the Air Force runs the Respite Care program, providers are not Department of Defense employees, rather, independent caregivers.
“This program gives providers the option to work around other jobs, as long as the schedules don’t overlap,” Morris said. “You could be a DoD employee and offer this care to families on nights and weekends. There’s so much flexibility, and it can be so rewarding.”
Providers must be 18 or older and certified in first aid and CPR, as well as trained in special needs inclusion and child abuse prevention. Additional training may be required based on the exceptional needs of the family, including physical, mental, developmental or sensory needs.
Additional information on EFMP Respite Care can be found here.