Frequently Asked Questions


In 2009, Easter Seals’ Lifespan Respite Program formed from the efforts of the Delaware Lifespan Respite Coalition. Since then, we have worked with hundreds of families to provide support as they care for their loved ones.  Today, we are here to support you.  Below are some of the most common questions about respite we receive everyday.  If you still have questions regarding whether respite is right for you, contact us.

1.  What is respite?

Respite is a temporary break for caregivers from their regular caregiving responsibilities.  These breaks can allow caregivers to do things they would not otherwise have time for or be able to do.  Examples of respite include:  going on vacation, running errands, taking time to read a book or go to the movies, and visiting with family and friends.

2.  Where does respite take place? 

Respite can be provided in a variety of settings.  Caregivers can select the type that best suits their needs as well as the needs of your loved one.  Examples include: in your own home, a child or day care center, camp setting, residential facilities (nursing care centers and assisted living facilities), and hospitals.

3.  Who provides respite care?

Respite can be provided by anyone – even a family member or friend.  If you need help finding additional sources of respite care, you can also call Children and Families First at 1-800-220-3092 or 302-738-3305 for New Castle County.  The service will connect you with a Dependent Care Specialist who can help you locate respite care providers and explore possible funding options to help pay for the care.

4.  Can I get financial assistance to help fund respite care?

Yes, you can.  We help families fund respite through two different programs: Relative Respite and the Easter Seals Lifespan Respite Program.

Relative Respite helps grandparents and other relatives afford respite care by providing them with small grants.  Relatives must be caring for a child under the age of 18.  The child does not have to have a special need.  For more information, click here.

Easter Seals’ Lifespan Respite Program also provides families with small grants to fund respite care.  However, DLRCN families must be caring for a loved one of any age with a special need, disability, or aging condition.  For more information on how to apply for DLRCN assistance, check out “Apply for Respite Funds” where you’ll be guided through the application process.

For both programs, there is no application fee and we do not discriminate based on a caregiver’s finances.  All we need to know is who you care for, what their needs are, and how you are currently meeting or trying to meet those needs.

5.  Who is eligible to receive financial assistance through Relative Respite?

You are eligible to apply for financial assistance if you are:

    • over the age of 55 and caring for a child under the age of 18;

    • responsible for a majority of the child’s care; and

    • related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption

6.  Who is eligible to receive financial assistance through the Easter Seals Lifespan Respite Program?

You are eligible to apply for financial assistance if:

      •  You are caring for:

        • a child with special needs or disabilities; and/or
        • an adult with special needs, disabilities, or conditions of aging
      • You are NOT being paid to care for your loved one.  For example, a home health nurse would not qualify for the grant because they are being paid to care for that individual.

      • You are NOT receiving respite funds from any of the following organizations:

        • Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS)
        • Hospice Agency
        • Medicaid Managed Care
        • Veterans Affairs (VA)

PLEASE NOTE:  The most common reason that an applicant is denied is because they are currently receiving respite funds through other organizations.  Our goal is to provide respite funds to people who have no other source of financial assistance, which is why we may deny someone who is receiving assistance from other sources.  There are exceptions to this, depending on the circumstances surrounding your need for respite.  If you are receiving respite services from any of the above organizations and would like to know whether you can still apply for financial assistance through our grant, contact us. 

7.  Are there other sources of financial assistance available to help me afford respite care?

Yes, there are.  Click here for a link to our Resources page to find Additional Sources of Financial Assistance.

Apply for Respite Funds


Through the support of the Division of Services for the Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, the Delaware Lifespan Respite Care Network is able to provide families with small grants to fund respite care.  The grants help pay for care for individuals of all ages and with any type of disability or special need.  Not sure what respite is?  Check out our list of frequently asked questions.

Below we provide a description of our application process so you know what to expect when you apply.


Estimated time: 10-15 minutes

*Please fill out one application for each care recipient.  For example, if you have two children with special Health care needs, you need to fill out two applications.

Our grant cycle begins in the fall of each year.  Applications are processed on a first come, first serve basis.

2. Staff processes your application and sends it to our committee

Estimated time: 2 – 3 weeks

Once we have received your application, we submit it to our committee who decides whether the caregiver is eligible to receive funds through our grant.  The committee is formed by representatives from local non-profits in the Delaware region who serve individuals with disabilities and special needs and their caregivers.

We rely on a committee to help process applications because they provide an impartial decision, looking at each case individually.  Depending on the committee’s caseload, the review process can take up to three weeks.

3.  Staff notifies you of the committee’s decision

Estimated time: 2-3 days

If you have been approved:

Congratulations!  You should receive an approval packet within a few days.

your packet will be mailed to your home address.

For information on how to fill out any invoices or other forms, click here.

If you have been denied:

You will receive a letter notifying you of the committee’s decision.  The most common reason that an applicant is denied is because they are currently receiving respite funds through other organizations.  Our goal is to provide respite funds to people who have no other source of financial assistance, that is why we may deny someone who is receiving assistance from other sources.

Should you wish to appeal the decision, please contact us for details on the appeals process.

If you have been placed on the respite contact list:

Due to a limited amount of funds and a large amount of financial assistance requests, we typically distribute all funds before the end of the grant cycle.  When this happens, we place all additional applicants on a respite contact list.  Those on the respite contact list will be notified if/when additional funding becomes available.

We thank you for your interest in our grant application.  Questions?  Contact us. 

Families Receiving Financial Assistance through DLRCN

Delaware Lifespan Respite Care Network...when you need a break
If you have applied for and been accepted into our grant program, congratulations!*

Below is a list of all the documents you will receive if you are approved for respite financial assistance through the Delaware Lifespan Respite Care Network.  Reimbursement for respite funds is most often delayed because forms are not filled out correctly.  If you have any questions when filling out a form, please contact us.

In your intake packet, you should receive the following forms:

1.  Approval Letter

2.  Allocation Chart

3.  Instructions for filling out the Invoices

4.  Invoice

5.  Direct Deposit Form

*Important to note: Invoices may take up to four weeks to process.  Because of this, it is extremely important that you follow invoice instructions closely.  An invoice that is filled out incorrectly could delay your reimbursement by an additional week or two. We appreciate your patience as we work to shorten this process.

Examples of invoices:

5. Direct Deposit Sheet

Copy: Direct Deposit Bank Account Information Sheet

*If you have not applied for the grant program, check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions and find out how we can help you get a break from caregiving.  If you have not been accepted into our program, check out Apply for Respite Funds for a description of our appeal process.  You can also check out the Resources page for additional sources of financial assistance.