In 1988, a group of Nebraskans applied for a federal grant through the Children's Bureau to develop a model respite care system for the state. These individuals saw respite as an important support system for families of children with disabilities. The grant, "Temporary In-and-Out-of-Home Care for Children with Disabilities or Chronic of "Terminal Illness" was awarded to the Nebraska Department of Social Services.

Given Nebraska's large geographic size and sparsely populated counties, any statewide model for respite care needed to address the challenge of getting services to remote, rural communities. The first three objectives for building this model included the recruiting of persons to provide in-home and out-of-home respite care, training potential respite providers and providing ongoing technical assistance to them, and providing financial support for families based on sliding fee scale.

Since locating respite care providers is a major issue for families, the last objective of the grant was to develop and implement a centralized, automated resource directory. It was decided to automate the respite resource directory since the traditional printed directories quickly become obsolete and are expensive and cumbersome. Initially, a contractor traveled throughout the state to survey families, agencies and organizations. This in-depth study of the needs and capabilities required of a computerized system of resources, that would be family-centered in ease of operation, accessibility and usability, resulted in the specifications for the Nebraska Resource Referral System (NRRS).

The Nebraska Resource and Referral System is a free service, brought to you by the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. This website is valuable tool, connecting Nebraskans to the services and resources they need online.