Emergency Respite

Pandemic Emergency Respite Services 

Rising Treetops at Oakhurst as of September 29, 2021 will again provide emergency respite services for individuals with developmental disabilities. As is typically the case, emergency respite placements at Rising Treetops are only available from late September through early June, and not during our summer camp season (except in 2020 when we cancelled our summer camp program).


COVID-19 has impacted our usual protocols and criteria for accepting and serving clients with development disabilities on an emergency basis. The safety and health of our clients and staff is always the highest priority at Rising Treetops, and as a result we are accepting referrals and requests for emergency respite services from care managers, OPWDD family support staff and directly from families with the following strict criteria in place for such a placement:


1.  Clients must be fully vaccinated and be at least 14 days beyond their final shot before beginning an emergency respite stay at Rising Treetops.


2.  Clients must have emergency placement needs of at least 13 days (we have reduced this from our previous requirements of longer stays as a result of our requirement of clients being vaccinated). OPWDD-funded clients must be pre-approved for the hours necessary to be provided site-based overnight respite services at Rising Treetops for at least 13 days, OR if a private placement the full cost of the service must be paid in advance.


3.  Clients must not require 1:1 personal care.


4.  Clients must be in good health and not have any medically-fragile conditions, especially any that are considered immunocompromised.


5. Client families must provide permission for Rising Treetops to conduct a COVID-19 test after 7 days in residence.


In addition, we will only be able to accept and serve emergency respite clients if we have enough live-in direct care staff available.  New emergency respite clients will be cared for by Rising Treetops’ direct support professionals in a “bubble” alone (or in some cases with at least one other client) and with dedicated staff, separated from all other clients and staff at all times during at least the first 7 days at our respite facility after arrival. Clients will be given a COVID-19 test after 7 days in order to allow for the remaining days of their stay to be in a group respite cohort.


All direct support professionals at Rising Treetops are live-in staff, are fully vaccinated and will be on-site and not leaving the facility for at least 14 days prior to caring for any clients and throughout the clients’ emergency respite placement at Rising Treetops.


If you are a care manager, family support staff or a family caregiver and would like to discuss a specific placement during the COVID-19 pandemic that fits ALL of these criteria between late September and early June, please contact Rising Treetops at 732-531-0215 or email respite@risingtreetops.org.


We continue to monitor our local public health department and our partners at New York’s Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and New Jersey’s Department of Human Services to maintain safe and effective protocols at Rising Treetops.


Pre COVID-19 (and post COVID-19) Emergency Respite Services

  • In addition to our planned overnight respite program, we also provide emergency respite care for individuals with special needs including autism and physical and intellectual disabilities.


  • This emergency respite is available ONLY between October 1 and May 31 each year.  It is not available from June 1 to September 30.


  • Rising Treetops at Oakhurst’s emergency respite service, started in 2012, has provided dozens of people with disabilities in New York and New Jersey a temporary safe haven, often when there was no other place for them to go.


  • Please contact Charles Sutherland, Director of Services & Operations, about an emergency respite placement by calling 732-531-0215 or 804-467-9319 for more information.


  • Emergency respite is designed to provide care for people with special needs on days outside of our planned respite sessions, often with urgent same-day needs, to care for clients when a caregiver has medical issues or passes away, and during a transition period after leaving the care of family members while waiting for new permanent housing.


  • Most of our referrals, requests and funding for emergency respite has come through New York’s Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.  Private referrals and requests are also welcomed.  We can typically provide transportation in one of our lift-equipped vans.


  • While at Rising Treetops at Oakhurst, clients receive full 24 hour personal care and supervision and have access to therapeutic recreational activities, including arts/crafts, music/drama, sports, swimming (seasonally), cooking, nature studies and, ipad-based learning arts and trips off campus.