Nestled in the heart of the historic Monte Vista neighborhood, Respite Care is a special homegrown non-profit that opened its doors in 1987 to solve an unmet need. Respite Care’s founders include local parents caring for children with special needs and serious medical conditions who did not find any support services in the community for children requiring specialized care.
Respite Care of San Antonio’s mission is to protect, love, build trust, and nurture growth of children with special needs and complex medical conditions while strengthening the families caring for them. Respite Care fulfills its mission through the provision of community-based programs, including full-time and after school care, parent’s night out, family day out, and school recess camps. These essential services are designed to help families with the often daunting and time-consuming task of raising a child with special needs. Respite Care helps children with special needs learn and grow while their parent caregivers achieve long-term financial and emotional stability through employment, education, and temporary respite.
In 2000, Respite Care began offering full-time early childhood education. Respite Care’s program is often the only local option for working parents caring for medically fragile infants and young children requiring daily medical treatment, such as g-tube feeding, wound management, nebulizer breathing treatments, catheterizations, and seizure care.
Respite Care’s community-based services are designed to encourage developmental progress in participating children while providing needed support to families to help reduce stress and ultimately prevent the incidence of child abuse and neglect. Studies indicate that children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to be abused than non-disabled children.
Since 1997, Respite Care’s Davidson Respite House at 605 Belknap Place has been providing short and long-term care for children with complex medical diagnoses and developmental disabilities who have been taken into protective custody by the state. In 2007, Respite Care expanded services for more children in crisis through the opening of The Najim Family Respite Home. These homes are the state’s only licensed emergency shelters dedicated to providing care for children with special needs. Respite Care has taken on some of the most challenging cases in our community, including children with Down syndrome, spina bifida, MS, autism, and lack of limbs. Inside Respite Care’s historic homes, children with special needs victimized by abuse begin their journey of recovery. Respite Care’s dedicated staff, aided by nurses and therapists, help children attain neglected essential life skills, and heal physically and emotionally.
“Driven by a purpose to provide long-term positive outcomes for children, Respite Care aspires to break the cycle of abuse and neglect while boosting self-reliance for the children in their care. Without the help and support of the community, the unique services provided by Respite Care of San Antonio for children with special needs would not be possible,” said Larry Mejia Ph.D., President/CEO.