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The mission of the SC Respite Coalition is to expand quality respite opportunities in South Carolina throughout the lifespan for South Carolina families who have a member with special needs.  The Coalition’s goals are to:

  • Educate the general public and specific groups about the need for respite care.

  • Develop strategies to provide and improve respite services for families.

  • Provide support for families and providers through a coordinated information resources.



The SC Respite Coalition is the only entity in the state committed to addressing the needs for respite across the lifespan for all persons caring for a child or adult who has special needs.  The Respite Coalition was incorporated in the summer of 2001 and is the result of the vision of over 30 organizations.  Lead organizations in the development of the Respite Coalition have been Family Connection of SC, Inc., the Center for Disability Resources at the USC School of Medicine, and the Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina.




The SCRC provides information about respite to families and professionals, strives to increase awareness among family caregivers of the necessity and benefits of regular time off from caregiving duties, and advocates for legislation and policies which support state and local respite programs. We also offer family caregiver respite vouchers using state and federal funds allocated for that purpose.



Respite is temporary relief from caregiving and the need most frequently identified by family caregivers of all ages.  Respite is essential to family preservation for many families and it plays a significant role in prevention of abuse and institutionalization.  In South Carolina there are inadequate respite resources to meet the needs of most families.  It is significantly underfunded for those who need subsidy; and it is difficult, if not impossible, in some places and for certain populations with complicated physical and mental conditions, to find trained respite providers.

National studies show that one-fourth of all American families are involved in providing care to someone 50 or older, which, of course, does not include those caring for someone younger.  Even if only a fraction of families urgently need respite due to full time care giving, this clearly affects a significant number.   The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as the 85+ population grows by 25% every 10 years, is outpacing families’ abilities to cope without respite services.

We know that 1 in 4 of South Carolina’s children have been diagnosed with one or more special needs.  These children have a longer lifespan than ever before, so families provide care for many more years, often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  South Carolina spent $40 million in 2001, up from $34 million in 1998, to remove children with emotional disorders from their family homes during a mental health crisis.  Yet almost no funding is available for these families to receive respite services that might prevent family disruption and the expense of Foster Care.  And if the loved one is in midlife, not yet in need of institutionalization or hospice care, with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), for example, the family caregiver just manages largely alone.


Respite is a cost effective service that enables families to keep loved ones at home,

where they want to keep them and where loved ones want to be, for much longer.

Frankly, the alternative – institutionalization – is simply not affordable for our society.

We must create services to help families cope!


Because the needs of caregivers exceed what government can do alone, the Respite Coalition has worked tirelessly for the past four years to mobilize faith communities to address the respite needs of families in their own congregations.  Families trust their own family members first to take care of loved ones and it is our belief that one’s faith community is next best to kin.



Send mail to rachal@screspitecoalition.org with questions or comments about this website.
Last modified: 07/20/19       Webmaster: Renée A. Gibson, LMSW, CSA