Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Respite Care Program

An estimated 26 million individuals in the United States are caring for at least one adult family member or friend who is ill or disabled. That means 26 million people who could use a break from the often relentless stress of caregiving. Under today''s systems of care, few will get that much-needed respite.

Recognizing the need, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has unanimously approved a respite care bill (S 538), introduced by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), that would pay care workers to fill in for family members a few hours or days per week. The government would award $90.5 million in 2003 to local non-profit groups to hire and train respite care workers. The program would run at least through 2008.

In addition the government would award a grant to a nonprofit organization to establish a National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care that would assist local respite care programs and educate the public about available respite care services. The bill must now be voted on by the full Senate.

To read the text of the bill, go to: