Emergency Respite

COVID-19 Emergency Respite Services (as of March 21, 2020)

Rising Treetops at Oakhurst is continuing to provide emergency respite services for individuals with developmental disabilities duringt the COVID-19 pandemic.


While planned overnight respite and after school respite services at Rising Treetops were suspended as of March 20, and all summer camp services were subsequently cancelled, we have continued to provide services to vulnerable individuals with developmental disabilities on an emergency basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Presently, Rising Treetops has the live-in and support staff to safely serve up to eight emergency respite clients at a time.


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 have New York State OPWDD eligibility for services AND eligibility for site-based out-of-home overnight respite services OR must satisfy specific requirements for a private emergency placement.


2.  Clients must have emergency placement needs of at least 30 days. 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 30 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.


New emergency respite clients will be cared for by Rising Treetops’ direct support professionals separated from all other clients and staff for the first 14 days at our respite facility after arrival. All direct support professionals at Rising Treetops are live-in staff 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 emergency respite placement during the COVID-19 pandemic that fits ALL of these criteria, please contact Charles Sutherland at 732-531-0215 or 804-467-9319, or email respite@risingtreetops.org.


We continue to work closely with 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.