The FSW Respite program supports families whose children are struggling with the challenges of Serious Emotional Disturbances (SEDs). FSW’s Respite program is the only program in Westchester County offering this type of service to children and their families.
Respite provides caretakers with breaks from the continuous tasks and pressures of caring for SED children, while also providing SED children with therapeutic activities and relationships designed to build their self-esteem and social skills.
Lifting the Burden of Special Needs Caretaking
Respite can take a number of forms, but each is based on the premise that by having periods of relief, a family is better able to cope with the intense day-to-day demands of living with a special needs child. In addition, Respite can often provide a fallback plan in case of crisis.
Respite services are designed to supplement the services available to these children and their families through children’s case management programs, as well as the Family Ties parent support groups.
Avoiding In-Patient Hospitalizations
Respite is part of a collaborative System of Care in Westchester County, whose overarching purpose is to build the strengths and supports needed to safely maintain SED children in the community while preventing further hospitalizations or other out-of-home placements.
Interventions are individualized to meet the needs of individual children and their families, while drawing on the natural supports and strengths available to each individual family. Door to door transportation is provided for all of Respite’s programming.
FSW Respite’s Weekend Success program offers SED children the chance to experience recreational outings in the community. Always safe and structured, with a staff-to-child ratio of 1:2, these trips give Respite’s children a chance to build self esteem, develop positive relationships, experience positive role modeling, and, above all, have fun.
The trips run year-round on Friday evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays. Trips include everything from playgrounds, to plays, to bowling alleys, to dinners out in Manhattan.
Many children in Respite also benefit from one-on-one mentoring and skill building. These relationships not only allow children to work on the general goals of Respite such as having fun and building social skills, but also allow the program’s children to work on more specific goals developed by their families, their case managers or the children themselves.
Camp Success is the Respite Program’s “summer camp on wheels.” Campers are picked up every day and brought to various activities in the community. While Camp Success spends a lot of time at the pool, events also include local beaches, zoos and amusement parks when the weather is nice, and bowling, museums and roller skating on rainy days.
Camp Success runs four days a week for seven weeks. On Fridays, staff members meet to discuss the progress and strengths of the campers. These discussions result in “Success Reports” that are meant to highlight the achievements and progress of all campers; they are discussed with the campers and caregivers each week.
Always strength based, Camp Success is based on the idea that there is a way for every child to succeed, and that success is different for every child. Despite the fact that many of our campers do not have typical camps available to them, Camp Success boasts a success rate close to 100 percent.
Social Stars After School Program: This small after school program, which can accommodate up to six children ages 6-11, is part of the Yonkers Community Action Program (YCAP). Eligibility is the same as for the general Respite Program.
Overnight Respite: Uses certified homes from FSW’s Family Partnership Program for planned overnight or weekend respite time.
Crisis Respite: If a child is in special need of a weekend trip or one-on-one attention during a difficult time or unusual circumstances, Crisis Respite can usually be arranged through FSW’s Respite Program.
Special Events: The Respite Program invites all families from all referring programs to our annual Holiday Family Party for an afternoon of family fun.
The Respite Program staff also provides recreation and supervision for the children of Family Ties’ families at their annual picnic.
Eligibility for Respite
Respite works with children ages 5-17, who are living in the community and receiving intensive case management services. Some spaces are also reserved for children whose caregivers have had long-term involvement with Family Ties family support. Children must be classified as struggling with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED) or at risk of a SED, and be referred by one of these sources.
Respite also provides weekend Respite outings and Family Respite Planning to families receiving Preventive Services from Westchester County’s Department of Social Services through FSW’s Expanded Respite for Preventive Service Families.
Patrick Schelle, MSW – Director
Tangi Walker Rennalls, MSW – Assistant Director
Sheldon Edwards – Respite Coordinator
Olivia Rodriguez – PSR (Skill Building) Coordinator
Dymond Harris, MA – CFTSS Coordinator
Stephanie Guiracocha – Intensive Crisis Respite Specialist (Yonkers School Team)
Gloria Martinez – Intensive Crisis Respite Specialist (County Wide Team)
Portia Jones – Preventive Service Coordinator
Quaneisha Melton – Social Stars Coordinator
Akimie Worrell, ATR – Art Club Coordinator
Direct Care Staff/Weekend Trips – MOBILE PHONES