Shared Parenting is a program based on the concept of parental support and helps to keep families together by providing an alternative to long-term, out of home placement for persons with disabilities over the age of eighteen. This programs is based on the concept of parental support. It provides monthly relief to primary caretakers, and offers consistency to the individual receiving the services, without terminating the parental role. Parents of the individual recruit other families or "co-parents" to provide respite, essentially sharing the caretaker role.
Dependent on the individual's plan of service, the individual spends time each month with co-parents. Typically provided in 24-hour blocks, this "respite" time allows the primary caretaker a break and the individual a break from the primary caretaker. Usually provided in the home of the co-parent, the co-parent makes a commitment to the individual to help care for him or her and accept them as a parent of their family as well as maintaining communication with the individual's primary caretakers.