Respite Program

Are you the parent or caregiver for a child with a Serious Emotional Disorder (SED) between the ages of 4 and 18?  Do you ever feel burnt out or wish you could have a break from your caregiving responsibilities?

The Respite Program provides the much needed break to caregivers, providing a “Gift of Time”, while the child participates in programming to help increase their social skills.  Recreational Respite group activities provide a time of positive peer interaction for children, ages 7-13, while enjoying healthy activities.   Individual Hourly Respite is for children/youth, ages 4-18, matched with a trained Respite Worker, and spends quality time participating in age appropriate, positive activities. Both individual and group  services provide a break for the caregiver while the child is enjoying fun activities supervised by Respite Program staff.

In addition, The Respite Program offers our Teen Challenge Program, for ages 14-18.  This program offers weekly, life skills groups, community service activities and recreation.  The Teen Challenge Program provides an opportunity for teens to build their leadership skills, increase their civic responsibility and increase their knowledge of personal, career and wellness self- management.

Camp Scholarship opportunities are offered to those children enrolled in the Respite Program.


  • Group Recreational activities
  • Individual Hourly Respite
  • Teen Challenge Program
  • Camp Scholarships
  • Self -Care opportunities for caregivers.

What is the program like?

All  services are delivered in a strength based manner, recognizing that parents /caregivers are the experts when it comes to raising their children, and the Respite Program is there to support them in that endeavor. The children/youth that participate in services have an opportunity to experience friendship, growth, and positive healthy activities, as well as a mentoring staff to work with.

How do I participate?

To be eligible to participate in the Respite Program, the child referred must be in counseling and have a SED. A Respite Program Referral form must be completed by the child’s counselor. Complete and return the following referral for Childrens and Family Services, for more information please contact Juliann Simpson at 845 473 -2500 ext. 1324 or [email protected]

There is no fee for the Respite Program Services.   This is not a Medicaid only program.

Juliann Simpson

Respite Program Manager

I am the Respite Program Manager at MHA Dutchess. I oversee hourly respite services, recreational respite, camp scholarships, and the Teen Challenge Program. Working with children and families has always been a big part of my life. It is who I am, it is my passion. I had my humble beginnings with MHA in 1995, when I joined the Respite Program team. The Respite Program was in its beginning stages, and seeing it grow to include our teen program, and now our young adult program has been very exciting. Over the years, my work has enabled me to be part of the lives of many special individuals, who received support services from MHA. I count it a privilege being a part of the families in Dutchess County and overseeing such a dedicated team that provide the direct services to those we serve. For me, my work is part of my ministry for this season in my life, and for this I am grateful.

Get in Touch

515 Haight Avenue, Poughkeepsie, 12603


Ext 1324

How Can I Join?

Give us a call and we’ll introduce you to the program. Find out more information or register by calling 845-473-2500 x1324.

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