Family Respite Services supports during Covid-19 Emergency Response

The support for families through FRS is an essential service in our community. We are not closed and continue to be there for you. However, as recommended we have most of our staff working remotely and we have closed our main office to visitors during this emergency response. The best way for families and Direct Support Providers to contact Family Coordinators is through their email, but they will also be receiving their voice mail and returning calls. We want to be in contact with you. We ask that Direct Support Providers and families send in timesheets or invoices through email. Send them to

We know that this is a very stressful time for families and direct support providers. We continue to urge families to follow the guidelines provided by Public Health. Our request is that you refrain from having Direct Support Providers come into your home for three weeks if possible. The purpose of this is to minimize personal contact and risk of transmitting Covid-19 to families, children and direct support providers. Families may consider having a close family member support your child for a period of time.

We know that this is not possible for some families. For those families who continue to have someone coming into their home please check in with one another prior to have anyone in the home. On each visit, review whether anyone in the family, the direct support worker or people that live with either party have travelled, are in self-quarantine or are experiencing an symptoms that are associated with Covid-19. If any of these conditions are present then DO NOT go forward with the support. In addition, Direct Support Providers are urged to practice hand washing several times throughout the visit. If any family using in home support or Direct Support Providers who are actively working become affected by Covid-19 we need to know this information immediately.

We know that this will also create hardship for some Direct Support Providers. If you need information about emergency funds or Employment Insurance that are available through the federal government please reach out to us.

Throughout this period we want to urge everyone to stay connected with each other and with us, to believe that we will all get through this and taking these steps will help everyone in our community. We hope to see creative responses from families and Direct Support Providers about ways that you are maintaining connections and doing activities through on line and would love to share your stories! 

Informational web link regarding How to Self Monitor provided Public Health Ontario.

Direct Support/Respite Provider

About Respite Providers

Respite Providers provide a short break for caregivers by spending individual time with their child. Respite providers are seen as positive role models, community connectors, and an important personal support.   Respite providers often plan various interactive activities outside of the home such as going to the park, art gallery, library, or simply sharing time together. In this role the focus is on providing the child with an opportunity to participate in the community with social events and activities while enhancing their social skills. Our goal is to provide a short break (respite) for the family, while at the same time supporting the child to engage in activities that assist them to have a full life.   Respite providers report that they find their work as caregivers to be very fullfilling.


Direct Support/Respite providers are caring and committed individuals. They are often students at the University or College, but also include seniors, people who want to give back to the community and people who work in professions that allow them to have flexible time to provide this service. The experience that students gain as a respite provider assists them as they work towards career goals in fields such as social work, nursing, teaching child care and a variety of other practices. Sometimes direct support/respite providers are people that are already known to the child and family through the family's social network or through the child's activities or persons that the family recruits. Family Respite Service recruits respite providers with a wide range of qualifications, life experiences, ages and skills. The match between direct support/respite providers and families is done through a tool that is overseen by FRS called  All direct support/respite providers must be screened through FRS to participate and be active on .  Those interested in providing respite care first complete an on line course about being a direct support/respite provider.  This gives an overview of respite, outlines the typical responsibilities of a direct support/respite provider and provides some resource information about the challenges and opportunities of being a direct support/respite provider.  A certificate is granted to those who successfully complete this course.  This helps us at FRS know that candidates know what being a direct support/respite care provider is all about and help them to determine if this is a good fit for them.  Once candidates complete this course, staff members from FRS will meet with the person to complete their application, discuss further their interests, qualifications and suitabililty.  References and a police clearance are necessary. The family makes the final choice and engages the direct support/respite provider.  The family provides information about the care of their child. Direct support/Respite providers are paid by the family with approved funding through Family Respite Services. Direct support/Respite providers are self employed.

Online Course and Information Session

Call us if you are interested in this opportunity.  We then invite you to participate in an information meeting to provide more details and meet with someone from FRS.  A more complete interview to learn more about your skills, interests, training and availability follows.  Persons interested in becoming Direct support/respite providers or in home workers will be required to successfully complete an online respite provider training course during the screening process. This course is a great opportunity for you to see if providing in home support is for you and to add to your skills for many careers.    After this is completed, your profile is activated on our site, enabling parents to select you as a respite provider for their child and family.

The Rewards of Being a Direct Support/Respite Provider

FRS has heard from many Direct Support/respite providers that they feel great rewards from their role with the child.  Most feel that they receive as much as they give.  Many respite providers are people who are on their way to a variety of careers, including teaching, social work, nursing, child care, police work etc.  This experience is invaluable to them.

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