A bill to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program at $15 million a year for five years has been reintroduced in the Senate and House. The bill is being sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WS) in the Senate and in the House by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Congressman Greg Harper (R-MS). CWLA has endorsed the bill along with several other groups.
The legislation is a renewal of a program first established in 2006 that provides competitive grants to states to establish or enhance statewide Lifespan Respite systems that maximize existing resources and help ensure that quality respite is available and accessible to all family caregivers. As highlighted in a national letter to the sponsors, more than half of care recipients are under age 75 and more than one-third under age 50, Lifespan Respite recognizes caregiving as a lifespan issue and serves families regardless of age or disability. The letter also indicates that the program remains underfunded as evidenced by the fact that grants are now provided to 35 states and Washington DC.