30th of July 2014 / Serving Oregon & Southwest Washington since 1959

Respite care available through TASK for families coping with disabilities

By Deborah Moon

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Families with children with special needs of any kind are eligible for an occasional break while a professional nanny cares for their child at a reasonable cost.

TASK, the disability awareness program of Jewish Family and Child Service, has partnered with Northwest Nannies Inc. for its Caregiver Respite Program. Thanks to an Innovation Impact Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and a grant from the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation Community Endowment Fund, the childcare is available on a sliding scale.

Originally TASK planned to train volunteers to provide the respite care, but found that families need more help than volunteers could provide, according to TASK Inclusion Specialist Corinne Spiegel.

“We realized we needed nannies with training in CPR, first aid and emergency protocols,” said Spiegel. “Northwest Nannies has a terrific reputation. TASK has used NW Nannies for childcare while parents met for support groups. We had the experience of working successfully with them caring for a room full of kids who might be more challenging.”

“With the help of the grants and NW Nannies’ accommodations, it’s not as costly as if a family went there directly,” she said.

Spiegel said that special needs can vary from impulse control problems to more extensive needs.

One family who already has taken advantage of the program said it was very helpful.

“The Caregiver Respite Program was a great experience for us,” said Isabel Sturman, who has two daughters with special needs. “We were able to take a few hours off and enjoy ourselves by going to lunch and a movie. Since the caregiver was used to working with special needs children, she was able to quickly help out without much training.”

“The agency was able to find someone who was familiar working with special needs children and they put you both in touch prior to the visit,” she said. “This way you can cover any information before your planned respite time.”

Sturman said she plans to use the service again and recommends it to other families with children with special needs.

“We appreciate TASK’s involvement in this program,” Sturman concluded. “Families with special needs members need a break every now and then to recharge their batteries.”

Childcare is available in four-hour increments one to two times per month. To be eligible for the program, families must contact Spiegel at 503-226-7079, ext. 55. After the first use, families may schedule directly with NW Nannies.

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