The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities will open a new respite home for children this summer.
The board has offered a respite program since 2010 and the two current locations in Perrysburg and Portage primarily serve adults but occasionally provide respite opportunities to persons under the age of 18.
“The number of children (needing respite services) in our county continues to grow,” said Superintendent Brent Baer at the December board meeting. “What you really can’t do is put an 11-year-old in with adults.”
The agency tries to go where the families are and there is a significant growth in services in Rossford, Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township, Baer said.
The new home, which will be in Rossford, will serve children aged 3-17.
The agency will work with families to schedule planned breaks for their children with developmental disabilities, but emergency need also will be considered.
Respite provides planned short-term relief options for families, from one night to one week. Reasons for respite range from unforeseen homelessness, family emergencies and recovery time from medical procedures.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as families need timed breaks,” Baer said.
No more than four children will be at the home at one time, he said. There will be 24/7 supervision that will provide care that could include emotional support, healthy hygiene and grooming, and meal assistance.
“Whatever the child’s needs are, we need to meet them,” Baer said.
The home is projected to open to residents in June on the site of a previously purchased home that burned before it could open.
Insurance paid on the loss of that home was $179,000, but to receive that money they had to rebuild on the same site.
The cost of the new home is $884,690 and is on budget, Baer said.
The Dotson Company, Whitehouse, is doing the work.
The board’s 2022-24 capital plan includes the home, which will be fully accessible. Along with four bedrooms, it will have two bathrooms plus a half bath for staff use. There will be two wings, which will allow two bedrooms to share a bathroom. Staff will be able to monitor the home from a central kitchen and living room.
“This is one of those services that was in the strategic plan,” Baer said. “That service has basically tripled in size in about a two-year window.”
If the need for child respite continues, he thinks there will be a second home added in Bowling Green, he said.
A contract with I Am Boundless is in place to provide services for the adult respite program at the two existing locations; it has been extended through the end of this year at a cost of $690,000 to promote a continuity of service.
Since new services will be provided at the new children’s respite home, the board later this month will release a request for proposal to determine whether there are any other partners that would be interested in providing children respite care programs.
‘’We know the children … are the most precious members of their families and they’re going to want to make sure we’ve done everything we can to find the best provider,” Baer said about parental interest.
The RFP would be awarded in March or April.
The board also agreed in December to provide employees a 4% wage increase effective Jan. 1. Another 4% increase will go into effect Dec. 31.
An agency-wide compensation study will be conducted in the second quarter of 2024 with board approval in the third quarter and implementation in 2025.