Network Projects
Respite Child Care Program

A needs survey conducted by the Early Childhood Mental Health Network of the Upper Valley in 2000 showed that respite was a priority need. The network's members (up to 50) are representatives of organizations that work with families and children. Twenty-nine organizations that serve children were surveyed, with a 62% response received. Specific findings of the survey were:

Some circumstances are particularly difficult: A Respite Committee was formed, planning funding was sought and obtained, and, in 2001, a proposal was submitted to and funded by the Endowment for Health. The Respite Child Care Program is completing its third year of funding by the Endowment and is meeting with success as it addresses the issues stated above, which will be further discussed in 4. Organizational Capacity. At the same time, in 2001, Judith Bumbalo, Ph.D., conducted an initial needs asessment using focus groups and key informants to determine for the Special Medical Services Bureau what the priority needs of families are in New Hampshire. In the qualitative data, the theme of Respite emerged as one of the 21 major themes identified. A Delphi, or forecasting, survey is underway at the present time; the results will quantify specific needs and will be used as the Bureau addresses the 2010 Goals for Children with Special Health Care Needs stated in the 10 year action plan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The Respite Child Care Program at Upper Valley Support Group addresses respite child care from a wellness perspective, i.e. respite is normal, healthy and should be available for all families. The following situations are real-life, Grafton County, New Hampshire examples of the need for respite services. They are people who are now being served by the Respite Child Care Program, which the Upper Valley Support Group proposes to continue in Grafton County and expand to Sullivan County.

Over the years the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) has continued to administer the RCCP. Many tweaks and change of focus has been necessary, primarily due to the funding sources possible to obtain. A major change was eliminating the effort of recruiting and training a cadre of respite providers, as the work demand and requests could not justify this emphasis. Instead the program focused on financial reimbursement to parents for the respite care they solicited and obtained themselves – from family, friends, and paraprofessionals. The RCCP Coordinator consulted with the parents in this recruitment process. Three month contracts were developed for each family and monitored by the Coordinator. Funding sources since the end of the NH Endowment for Health grant in 2004 have included the United Way, Grafton County Incentive Funds, and the Dolan Foundation. In recent years, because of increasingly restricted funding, the program has restricted reimbursement to families with a child(ren) with some kind of special need. The funding for Fiscal Year 2014 has become quite limited, but SNSC continues to explore funding sources, especially through foundations. All our quality control evaluation surveys – of parents and professionals – continue to indicate the extreme need and high value of the respite care resource for all parents, but especially those having a child(ren) with a special need.

from original Endowment for Health grant application 2001 – by Maryellen Sullivan


The Early Childhood Mental Health Network of the Upper Valley website address is
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