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Becoming a respite worker


What is Respite?

Respite is a periodic, short-term break to relieve a family of the responsibility of daily care of a family member with a physical and/or developmental disability. Respite creates greater opportunities for all family members to live actively and participate in community activities and allows parents/guardians time for themselves.

Becoming a Respite Worker

  • Anyone can become a respite worker!
  • Criminal records check (Vulnerable sector) – (Preferred)
  • First Aid and CPR – (Preferred)



  • Depends on the family and the child/ interests!
  • Example:
    • Staying home with the child while the parents bring their sibling to an extracurricular activity
    • Engage with the child while parents run errands
    • Help with routines
    • Bring the child to community activities
  • So many possibilities!
  • Up to the respite worker and the family to decide what would be the need/ best fit.


Why is this a good opportunity


  • Gain experience working with children with developmental disabilities.
  • Support families in need of help.
  • Work closely with families and develop meaningful relationships.
  • Enhance your resume.
  • Flexible schedule.


Training opportunities

FIREFLY offers Free Training opportunities for individuals wishing to pursue a career or part time job as a Respite Care Worker. These opportunities are there to support Respite Workers become better prepared to work with children with developmental disabilities. This also helps families feel more comfortable leaving their child in the care of their Respite Worker.



Respite Worker Certification (Trauma informed training)

  • ‘’Earning Your Respite Certification is an ideal way to strengthen your qualifications as a Respite Care Provider. The certification is internationally recognized and will provide you with the knowledge you need to begin or improve your respite care journey.’’
  • ‘’The Respite Services Training Certificate is an open-entry, self-paced online course. It was designed to prepare individuals to work in respite support situations and also provides a basic level of training for current respite workers. Those who are already working in the field may find it useful to take the course to explore areas they are less familiar with to ensure they have a full understanding of all the skills required.’’
  • ‘’By the end of this course, you will be able to:
    • Describe the role of a respite support provider
    • Support a person in a “meaningful life”
    • Deploy active listening skills for effective communication
    • Define clear boundaries of what should and should not be expected of a respite support provider
    • Create a positive environment to handle challenging respite support situations
    • Implement good health and safety practices in respite support situations
    • Recognize signs of abuse and know the proper procedures to follow in such cases
    • Properly bring closure to a respite support relationship’’
  • Once a respite worker completes this certification, FIREFLY will offer a free ‘’Respite Kit’’ (see below for details), as well as a 100$ Walmart gift card that can be used towards purchasing materials and activities to enhance respite encounters.


Respite Kits

FIREFLY will make and provide ‘’Respite Kits’’ to workers who have the Respite Worker Certification (see above). These portable respite totes will include a variety of meaningful and developmentally appropriate ‘’ready-to-go’’ activities that Respite Care workers can use with their clients.


First Aid and CPR Training

FIREFLY is teaming up with the Canadian Red Cross to offer free First Aid and CPR training opportunities. Updates on our website will be shared for upcoming training dates for each FIREFLY community (Kenora, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Red Lake).


Access to webinars and information sessions

FIREFLY clinicians are teaming up with clinicians at the THRIVE Children’s Treatment Center in Sault-Saint Marie to make a variety of FREE Webinars and short clips that will cover a variety of topics.

  • Videos are made by highly skilled professionals (such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Applied Behavior Analysists, Mental Health counsellors, etc.)
  • Caregivers may recommend watching certain videos that will have important information relating to their child’s needs. This can enhance both caregiver and respite worker knowledge of strategies to better support the child.
  • See ‘’Resources and videos’’ below to access links to these helpful videos.


Workshops with Lawyers

  • FIREFLY is teaming up with Lawyers from the Pooran Law firm in Toronto to develop a training opportunity for Respite Workers. This would include helpful tips in regards to bookkeeping strategies, being self-employed, liabilities to consider when being self-employed, etc.
  • Live workshops with Q&A opportunities, as well as access to recorded versions of workshop will be available.


*Maybe Workshops with Banker

  • FIREFLY is teaming up with a banker to develop a training opportunity for Respite Workers. This would include helpful tips regarding managing money as an independent worker, bookkeeping strategies, how to prepare for income taxes, etc.
  • Live workshops with Q&A opportunities, as well as access to recorded versions of workshop will be available.

Resources and videos



To learn more about the options available to you, contact FIREFLY toll free today at 1-800-465-7203. For location information, visit our Contact Us page.