(a) The legislative findings, purpose, and intent of this chapter are to develop the infrastructure for a statewide network of lifespan respite programs in Alabama and for Alabama Respite to be the statewide entity to address issues relating to respite care in our state.
(b) The Alabama Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Respite is short term temporary relief that can make a world of difference for family caregivers of both children and adults with disabilities and other health care needs.
(2) Respite is one of the home and community-based services most requested by family caregivers, yet remains in short supply.
(3) As of 2012, over 818,000 adults in Alabama are caregivers for a family member.
(4) Respite helps preserve families by reducing stress, supporting stability, preventing situations that can lead to abuse and neglect, and reducing the incidence of divorce and out-of-home placement.
(5) Respite is a simple, cost-effective solution for situations that can otherwise devastate families.
(6) A state lifespan respite program simplifies and accelerates the process for accessing respite services and is recognized by service providers, families, and policymakers, in Alabama as well as nationwide, as the best practice in the provision of respite care in the most cost-effective way.
(7) Federal legislation was passed in Congress that would provide a mechanism to fund states that have collaborative systems of lifespan respite provision in place.