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What is Respite?

BHSN provides short-term, temporary care to families in Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties, NY who do not currently have resources or natural supports to assist in caring for a child with a mental health diagnosis. Unlike typical childcare, respite care is utilized to increase the wellness of the family and prevent unwanted crises by enabling caregivers to take a break. Families who meet eligibility requirements may receive respite for a period of 3 months. Caregiver participation in support and networking meetings is a requirement in order to receive additional respite. Respite services typically do not exceed 6 months in duration.

Who can make a referral?

Children must be referred by a mental health service provider or other professional. The service provider plays an integral part in assessing a family’s need for respite. Ultimately, we aim to reduce familie’s reliance on formal respite supports by helping families overcome barriers to accessing natural childcare resources. This goal is achieved through a collaborative relationship with the family and the service provider and through the provision of formal planning and networking opportunities for families identified as having a longer-term respite need.

Who is eligible?

Families who are raising a child or young adult (ages 3-21) with a mental health diagnosis who are struggling to access natural childcare supports for their child with special needs may be referred for respite care. The respite coordination process includes a needs assessment and authorization for respite services is determined based upon level of need. Respite is a non-clinical service and children must be psychiatrically stable in order to receive respite.

Who is not eligible?

Children who do not have a mental health diagnosis including those identified as Intellectually Disabled are not eligible. Additionally, families who have access to other natural or formal childcare supports (e.g. babysitter, nanny, PCA) do not qualify for respite services through our program. Similarly, families who have the financial resources to fund their own respite needs are not eligible to receive respite through BHSN. Families deemed ineligible are encourages to join us at networking and planning meetings and available information about other area resources will be provided.

When and where does respite take place?

In-home, hourly respite takes place in the home of the child. Out-of-home respite takes place in the home of an approved respite provider. At the end of the authorization period, unused hours and overnight stays expire. Where warranted, services may be tailored to meet a family’s unique, short-term, emergency need for respite.

Who provides respite?

Respite services are delivered by approved BHSN respite providers. Many approved providers are employed full-time in the mental health, education or allied healthcare field or are in the process of completing a related degree program. All have undergone child abuse, criminal record and FBI screenings. Approved providers also maintain CPR and first aid certifications and have had a recent physical to screen for communicable diseases. Those providers who provide care in their own homes have undergone an extensive home-study including a fire-safety inspection completed by their local fire marshal.

How is a referral made?

A referral for respite services may be made by submitting a completed respite referral packet along with a recent psychological evaluation (or other clinical documentation) to the program appropriate office of BHSN. Once complete, the referral packet may be submitted via fax or post. Because no eligible family is turned away, a wait list is maintained. The wait time to be matched with a provider varies and priority is given to families with the greatest documented need. BHSN will communicate regularly with families waiting to receive respite and children on our wait list.

Becoming a Respite Provider

There are many families in our community caring for children with mental health needs. By matching referred families with an approved Respite Provider, our respite care program provides these families the opportunity to take a needed break from the challenges that come with daily care giving. Our Respite Providers play a crucial role; the specialized care they provide increases the well-being of the entire family.

We value our approved Respite Providers. Individuals approved to provide respite services will receive competitive, fee for service compensation, and after-hours on call support.

For further information, please call a Respite Coordinator; we are here to help.

BHSN Child & Family Respite Program: (518) 561.8815 

Those interested in learning more about Respite Services should contact our program supervisor:

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Respite Services

22 U.S. Oval – Suite 100
Plattsburgh, NY 12903
Phone: (518) 563.8000

Respite Services

Contact Us

Corporate Office: 518.563.8206
22 US Oval, Suite 218, Plattsburgh, NY 12903


Crisis Helpline: 1.866.577.3836
Adult & Child Clinic: 518.563.8000
STOP DV Hotline: 1.888.563.6904