Federal officials are sending millions of dollars to states to strengthen respite care services for families of those with disabilities and other special needs.

The Administration for Community Living said that some $11 million in Lifespan Respite Care State Program Enhancement Grant awards will go to 10 states over five years.

The funding will be used to expand and enhance respite services, improve coordination and dissemination, bolster quality and make programs easier to access, according to the federal agency.

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“States will build on advancements made under previous lifespan respite care program grants and focus on enhancing and strengthening the components of their respite system to improve equitable access, consistency, quality and sustainability and to reduce duplication in service delivery,” the Administration for Community Living indicated.

The grants will go to Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Virginia.

Earlier this year, lawmakers approved the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act, which increases funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program to $10 million annually through the 2024 fiscal year. The program had previously received $2.5 million per year.

At the time, backers of the act said that there are about 53 million family caregivers nationwide providing an estimated $470 billion in unpaid care each year, most of whom have not received any respite services.

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