Award-Winning Respite Program Provides Relief for Caregivers

September 21st, 2022 | 3 min read

Father and daughter with down syndrome looking at each other smiling

The Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP) recently honored CareSource with a Pinnacle Award for the Child & Family Health Collaborative Behavioral Health Respite Care Program. A partnership between CareSource and The Child and Family Health Collaborative of Ohio, the program offers therapeutic relief with the goal of preventing the need for acute behavioral health services, hospitalization and out-of-home placements. Within six months of receiving respite care, the program has decreased acute services usage by 88%.

A child’s home environment heavily influences the structures within the brain responsible for personality traits, learning processes and coping with stress and emotions. A disruption in the stable environment severely impedes their mental and emotional development and leads to poor health, education and social outcomes.

CareSource identified an opportunity to reduce disruption by producing strategies aimed at alleviating stress of families with members with behavioral health conditions. Specifically, through the creation of the CareSource/Child and Family Health Collaborative Behavioral Health Respite Care Program.

The program provides short-term, therapeutic relief to CareSource members and families with youth diagnosed with serious emotional disturbance. Behavioral health respite is arranged through temporary in-home or out-of-home care delivered by providers and caregivers.

The CareSource/Child and Family Health Collaborative Behavioral Health Respite Care Program seeks to decrease the need for acute health care services, hospitalization and out-of-home placements, while reducing health care costs.

CareSource evaluates program effectiveness by tracking acute services (emergency department, behavioral health inpatient hospitalization, and day treatment) by youth utilizing respite as a service. The data is compared to the six months prior to their start in respite and then six months after they have been receiving or received respite.

CareSource pulled data on 77 members receiving behavioral health respite services through the CareSource/Child and Family Health Collaborative Behavioral Health Respite Care Program between February 2021 and July 2021.

Emergency Department:


Inpatient Services: (Behavioral Health)


Day Treatment:


Utilization and cost of services evaluated are trending down after comparing the difference between six months pre-enrollment and six months post-enrollment. CareSource is confident the data demonstrates the positive impact the intervention of behavioral health respite has on members and their families.

The initial data suggests the simple act of connecting families with respite care improves not only the health of the member, but also the health of the relationship between the caregivers and members. The program also boasts many stories of avoided out-of-home, and even out-of-state placements.

The program continues to help families and caregivers avoid acute care by providing space, time and resources to heal from within.