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developmental disabilities

Respite care

What is respite care?

Respite care is temporary relief care designed for families of children or adults with special needs. Respite care can range from a few hours of care provided on a one-time basis to overnight or extended care sessions. Respite care can be utilized on a regular or irregular basis and can be provided by family members, friends, skilled care providers or professionals. Providers, chosen by the family, care for children or adults with special needs while families take a class, go to a movie, go on a vacation, or enjoy any activity.

Respite care is designed to help families. Caretakers of children or adults with special needs often face serious problems and stress as a result of balancing the needs of their child or adult with special needs with the needs of other family members. These breaks, that respite care provides, allow families time to tend to the needs of their children, spouses, and themselves.

How does Respite Care work?

For an eligible child or adult, a family may receive authorization to receive up to $600.00 of Respite Care services; with $200.00 for each additional eligible child or adult, up to a maximum of $1000.00 per family, per year (June 1-May 31). The family selects a provider and uses the Request For Payment form to purchase Respite Care Services. The provider receives reimbursement by submitting the Request For Payment form to the Department of Human Services Respite Care Program.

Who is eligible for Respite Care?

Any family having a child or adult family member who has a developmental disability, a developmental delay (children only), a serious emotional disturbance, a severe and persistent mental illness, a chronic medical condition (children only), a traumatic brain injury, or a child they have adopted may be considered for respite care services.

A copy of any document containing the diagnosis and name of the physician or psychologist issuing the diagnosis should be sufficient for children or adults with a developmental disability, developmental delay, or chronic medical condition. The Department does not need a complete copy of these reports - just the portion containing the diagnosis.

If the child has a serious emotional disturbance or the adult has a severe and persistent mental illness a summary evaluation form available from the Department of Human Services should be completed and returned with the application.

The Department of Human Services will endeavor to ensure that all eligible families can participate in the respite program.

Any family who is denied respite care from the Department of Human Services may appeal by writing the Secretary of the Department of Human Services.

Goals of Respite Care program



Respite Care application

Directions for completing Respite Care applications

Respite Care request for payment form

Respite Care brochure

Contact information:

Respite Care Program
Department of Human Services
Hillsview Plaza
E. Hwy. 34, c/o 500 East Capital
Pierre, SD 57501-5070