Children's Behavioral Health

Respite Care Services

What is respite care?

Respite is a service funded by the state to provide a temporary planned break for parents/guardians raising children with disabilities or special health care needs. Respite care allows parents/guardians time to go shopping, take a walk, go to a school concert or ball game, attend a meeting or have a relaxing weekend.


Who is eligible?

Families with children (up to four per family) under the age of 18 and diagnosed with –

    • Significant delays (six months or greater) in two or more areas of development or
    • An emotional disability or
    • A behavioral disability

Service agency:

In July 2012, NAMI Maine was awarded the contract to provide Respite Services. Due to Department of Labor policies, all respite providers are required to become per diem employees of NAMI Maine. NAMI Maine accepts applications for potential respite providers on an ongoing basis.

NAMI Maine provides a variety of support and educational programs, free of charge, for families impacted by mental health needs. With support groups all over the state and a state-of the art website, NAMI Maine can help you find a support network. To learn more about NAMI’s support groups or trainings visit


Information for Families: 

As parent(s) of children(ren) with special needs there are many services where you do not have a choice in providers.  The Family Respite Program is all about YOU!  The program is intended to provide caregivers with intentional breaks so that they can maintain a healthy and nurturing family dynamic.  Planned breaks while your child(ren) are cared for by a respite provider THAT YOU HAVE PICKED means that you can take time to recharge your own batteries, spend time with your significant other or even care for your other children on a one-on-one basis.

Here are the basics:

  • Complete the application on your own or with your case managers help.  You can find the application at It is important to note that some families may be required to pay a co-pay.  The Determination of Fee form must be completed and submitted with the application, along with verification of income. (Tax return, pay stubs, SSI or other benefits documentation, etc.)  But, many families are not expected to pay anything.  
  • Submit a copy of their child’s most recent comprehensive diagnostic evaluation (dated and signed by a clinician).  If the evaluation is more than a year old, families will also need to submit a signed letter from a qualified  professional (clinical social worker, psychologist, doctor or psychiatrist) that confirms the child’s diagnosis is still accurate.

  • Families who are enrolled in the program are granted 24 hours of respite per month. Hours roll over monthly until the end of the fiscal year (June 30) and reset to 24 hours a month on July 1. This means you can save up hours for a weekend trip or for a challenging time of year in your family.

  • To find a provider you trust, families are encouraged to ask a family friend, relative, neighbor, church member or other individual the family knows and trusts to be their respite provider. There are many providers for you to pick from, but if possible having someone become a provider with you means you start services faster.


Information for Individual Respite Providers:

Are you interested in working with children and earning some extra income then becoming a provider may be a good option for you. Respite Providers are per diem employees of NAMI Maine. This means that NAMI Maine provides training and support to ensure the quality of the care respite providers bring to families.  However, respite providers get to select which families they feel comfortable working with to ensure their skills match well with children and families’ needs.  As a per diem position this means, providers are not mandated to ever work any specific time or with any specific family.  However, this also means that NAMI Maine does not guarantee any minimum amount of hours.

  • Individual providers must be 18 at least years of age and have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Once approved, respite providers earn $10.00 or $12.50 per hour depending upon the needs of the child(ren) and the education and experience of the provider.
  • You may work up to 29 hours a week depending on your ability to find families within the program that you wish to serve.
  • Mileage reimbursement is provided after the first 20 miles for providers approved to receive reimbursement for respite episodes of more than 4 hours.
  • Complete the NAMI Maine provider application packet found at

Contact information

To reach the NAMI Maine Family Respite Program contact NAMI Maine directly. 

NAMI Maine
1 Bangor Street
Augusta, ME 04330
tel: 1.800.464.5767