UCP offers voucher respite services through HEARTS

UCP’s HEARTS program offers vouchers for respite services to parents of children with disabilities up to age 19, parent education and support, and community awareness activities. Respite is a short break from caring for a person with a disability or chronic illness so that the caregiver may take a little time for themselves, spend time with other children or their spouse, or tend to one’s own medical or personal needs. The purpose of the HEARTS program is to reduce the stress of fulltime caregiving duties associated with raising a child with a disability or with special health care needs, strengthen families, and reduce social isolation.

The voucher model allows families to choose and train providers they know and trust as well. It also provides flexibility for caregivers to use the voucher when they determine respite is most needed to reduce stress. The respite voucher for reimbursement is provided directly to the caregiver. Caregivers are given information about how to hire a qualified respite provider.

The HEARTS program also offers parent education and support through parent training and community events. Participants of the trainings not only learn excellent skills, but also benefit from meeting parents with similar circumstances thus reducing isolation. Information about stress reduction, recognizing and responding to the need for taking a break, accessing community-based resources, preventing child abuse and neglect, recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, and various other topics is distributed to participants of the HEARTS program as well as others in the community.

UCP’s HEARTS program also offers First Aid and CPR training for caregivers and respite providers. This training increases parents’ confidence of caring for a child with special needs and also helps parents to feel more comfortable leaving their child with a trained respite provider.

This program is made possible by funding through the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.

For more information about UCP’s HEARTS program, contact our Family Services Director Stephanie Wright, RN at 256-852-5600 or by email at swright@ucphuntsville.org.

HEARTS Application