DCYF will be transitioning to an online caregiver application system. 
To ensure a smooth rollout, DCYF is pausing new foster parent applications from Nov. 1, 2022 - Mar. 1, 2023.
This does not apply to kinship applications, license renewals, and those getting licensed through a child placing agency. 

Foster Parent Kinship Caregiver FAQs

No. Although you are using respite care, the child is still placed in your home and will return once respite is over. However, if a child is in respite for 14 days or longer, per DCYF, this is considered a change in placement and requires prior approval from the child’s caseworker. Make sure to talk with the child’s caseworker when your respite request is 14 days or longer. The request should be made in advance because staffing and approval by a supervisor or an area administrator (AA) is required.

Children in DCYF custody must receive private, individual face-to-face Health and Safety visits by the assigned DCYF worker or other qualified DCYF worker every calendar month. For children who are in out-of-home placements, the majority of Health and Safety visits must occur in the home where the child resides. If the DCYF worker visits the child in another location, the DCYF worker must document the reason and benefit gained.

Once respite is complete, email the child’s caseworker or the placement coordinator that arranged the respite. Provide the exact dates and times of the respite and the respite provider’s name, or send a copy of the respite provider’s billing that includes this information. Always keep a copy for your records. Your respite provider’s payment should be processed within four weeks, but may take up to six weeks. This depends on when the bill is submitted and if it is processed in the main payment cycle, or with the supplemental payments later in the month. Helping your respite provider complete a bill or invoice and providing any requested documentation assists DCYF staff in processing your payment request more quickly.

Retention Respite offers licensed foster parents or Tribal foster parents regular monthly breaks from caregiving, or when the caregiver has an emergent need to be away from the home. Retention respite has a 30 day waiting period once an eligible child is placed in your home. For each month you have a child in care for 20 days or more, you earn two days retention respite per month and can accumulate or “bank” up to 14 days that can be used at one time. Remember that respite over 14 days is considered a placement change. Once the hours drop below 14 days, you can begin accumulating hours the next month. 

Retention respite is:

  • Used only in daily units; you cannot use just a partial day.
  • Available for each foster child who has been in placed with you 30 days or more. Licensed foster parents can opt to use retention respite for only one child in the home, even when more than one child is placed in the home. The time used will be subtracted from your accrued retention respite days.
  • Tracked and monitored by your region. Tribal and private agencies must monitor retention respite eligibility and utilization for their licensed homes and coordinate with DCYF's regional management to report access and utilization.

CSR is linked directly to the medical, behavioral or special needs of an individual child placed in your home. CSR offers all families providing care to a child placed by DCYF, relief from the caregiving responsibilities that children with medical, behavioral, and special needs require. This type of respite is authorized on a case by case basis, consistent with the written service plan for the child. You can request to use CSR for half-days or full days. Half days cover up to five hours; anything over five hours is authorized as a full day. The CSR service for your foster child must be periodically re-authorized by the caseworker, and should be discussed in a shared planning meeting. When the caseworker considers a request for CSR, he or she must consider all other possibilities for relief from caregiving responsibilities that could assist you, such as retention respite, school, other relatives of the child, visitation, etc. If you need CSR for more than one week, it must be authorized by the Area Administrator.

DCYF pays the cost of retention respite for foster families licensed through DLR. DCYF does not pay for retention respite for foster parents licensed through private CPA’s; private agencies assume those costs under their contract with DCYF . However, DCYF does pay for child specific respite, regardless if the foster parent is licensed by DLR or by a CPA. Respite care must be authorized in advance by the child’s caseworker if it is to be paid for by DCYF.

E-mail or call the child’s caseworker or the placement coordinator who arranged your respite; let them know the respite has not been paid. If you call make sure to leave a message if the caseworker isn’t available, including your name and contact information. If you are not able to reach the caseworker, you can press “0” for help, or request to speak with the caseworker’s supervisor.

Payment for respite care is taxable income; providers will have taxes deducted from their earnings. Respite providers for foster parents licensed through DLR, will have taxes deducted in their payment received from DCYF. Persons providing respite for foster parents licensed through CPAs are paid directly by the private agency. Because DCYF maintains a contract with the CPA for its services, taxes for respite payments are deducted by DCYF before the funds are sent to the CPA for disbursement to the respite provider.

Each respite provider that is receiving payment must complete a W-9 tax form prior to providing care. Because each person’s tax status is different, the amount of tax deducted from their payment will vary.

It is care provided to children placed in your home to give you a break from daily caregiver responsibilities. Respite care gives you the opportunity for personal time away from home and can support you if there is an emergency that takes you away from home. Respite care can play an important role in maintaining the stability of a child’s placement, avoiding disruption and supporting you.

Respite care reimbursement rates are established by DCYF. For children receiving a level 1 or 2 foster care rate, the daily reimbursement rate is $22.44.

Children who receive a level 3 or 4 foster care rate are eligible for a daily respite care rate of $38.76.