For Families: Respite Housing

Believe In Tomorrow’s unique respite housing is the first and largest retreat housing program in the United States for critically ill children and their families. The goal of the program is to accelerate the healing process by offering a relaxing and carefree retreat from the stresses of a serious illness. Children from any hospital, nationwide, who are facing a life threatening illness are eligible for the program.

If you have any questions, please contact our Programs Coordinator at 410-744-1032 or


Patient Eligibility Requirements

  • Patient must be 17 years old or younger when they apply and will be eligible up to age 18.
  • Patient must be undergoing treatment for cancer or surgery for an organ transplant.
  • Patient must be on active treatment and seen by a doctor at least once a month. A child is eligible until one year after completing active treatment or one year post transplant.
  • Patients with parents who are active military will be given higher priority in all our facilities.

Families are expected to:

  • Provide their own transportation to and from the respite facility.
  • Provide their own meals, though some resources may be provided.
  • Act respectful and responsible, with no indication of inability to abide by rules or regulations. Accommodations are free of charge and will remain this way as long as families fulfill these expectations.


  • Children with parents who are active military and meet the eligibility requirements will be given higher priority in all our facilities.
  • Families who have never gone on a respite are our first priority.
  • We reserve the right to place families where we deem appropriate.


In order to be considered for participation in our respite program, all families must submit a completed application for their child. The application includes three parts: a parent/guardian section, a social worker recommendation, and a medical assessment from the child’s doctor or physician. All forms must be signed by BOTH parents/guardians. The medical assessment MUST be completed and signed by the physician.

Parents in a divorced or separated situation must both agree to share the opportunities our programs provide. If parents are not able to do so, we will work with the parent who has legal custody of the child. A copy of the court-ordered custody agreement is required.

Participation in Believe In Tomorrow’s respite program is contingent upon receipt of all completed forms and approval by Believe In Tomorrow program staff in regard to compliance with all guidelines and eligibility requirements.

Download Respite Application


While staying at one of Believe In Tomorrow’s respite houses, we hope you will be able to relax together and enjoy your time away. You must provide your own towels, sheets, and linens at all locations. You will be provided with more specific details about your respite facility upon scheduling a respite stay.

Amenities available at all respite houses include:

  • Washer & dryer.
  • Private kitchen with microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, stove/oven, pots/pans and dishware.
  • Wireless internet.
  • Cable TV.
  • Movies, gaming systems, books, toys and games for all ages.
  • Parking.


Activities at the beach

  • Golf clinics
  • Crab feast at Hooper’s Crab House
  • Fishing & sightseeing
  • Wild pony sightings on Assateague
  • Pirate Adventure
  • Laser tag & wall climbing at Planet Maze
  • Frontiertown Western Theme Park & Water Park
  • Jolly Rogers Amusement Park
  • Kite flying at the Kite Loft
  • Malibu Surf Shop surfing lessons
  • Dinners out at Mancini’s, La Hacienda, Dough Roller & Hooter’s
  • Bike rentals
  • Mother-daughter manicures
  • Coast Guard Cutter rides

Activities in the Maryland mountains

  • Rock climbing & paintball at Cheat River
  • Corn maze & petting farm at Cove Run Farms
  • Garrett 8 Cinemas
  • Funland Family Fun Center
  • Husky Power Dogsledding
  • Lakeside Creamery ice cream
  • Smiley’s Pizzeria & Fun Zone
  • Western Maryland Railroad
  • Western Trails pony rides
  • Whitewater rafting at Wilderness Voyageurs
  • Wisp Resort skiing, tubing, ice skating & snowboarding

Activities in the North Carolina mountains

  • Bike rentals at Sycamore Cycles
  • Zero Gravity Skate Park
  • Whitewater rafting at Huck Finn Rafting
  • North Carolina barbecue at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse
  • Apple picking at Sky Top Orchard


Who can stay at the respite house?

Our respite housing is provided for immediate family only. Immediate family includes the patient, parents/legal guardians and the patient’s sibling(s). No other family members or friends may accompany you on your respite unless unique arrangements have been previously discussed.

Can I have visitors during my stay?

Family and friends are welcome to relax and spend the day with you during your respite, however we cannot permit additional friends and family members to stay overnight in our facilities or use complimentary passes provided for our families. Complimentary passes are for immediate family members only. The family members listed on your respite form will be the only ones allowed to stay overnight in the respite home. Misuse of these rules will restrict you from using Believe In Tomorrow’s respite program in the future.

What do I need to pay for on my respite?

Your accommodations are free of charge. There may also be complimentary activities and meals provided to you during your respite, depending on availability and time of year.

You will need to provide your own transportation to and from the respite facility and any additional activities you wish to participate in. You will also need to provide your own meals for the bulk of the stay. Each facility has a fully equipped kitchen and nearby restaurants for your convenience, as well as a wealth of entertainment including toys, books, games, and outdoor amenities.

When can I schedule a respite?

Applications for the respite program are accepted year-round. Once a family is accepted into our programs, they are encouraged to contact us immediately to discuss possibilities for getting away.

In April of each year, we start the process of inviting families for the upcoming peak season. We will contact eligible families who have applied and been approved for our programs.

Do I have to schedule an entire week for my respite?

No. Our scheduling is flexible during certain times of the year. There are times when you can schedule several days or a long weekend if that works better for your family. This typically does not apply during peak season respites.

How often can we visit your respite facilities?

Eligible families are encouraged to utilize our respite program throughout the year. Respites are scheduled at least three months apart. Families who have never experienced a respite, especially a peak season respite, will be given priority.

What is a peak season respite?

Peak season is the time of year that our respite facilities are most popular, such as the mountain houses in the snowy winter months and the beach facilities in the summer months. Specifically, peak season includes Memorial Day to Labor Day at both the beach and mountain facilities, as well as December through March in the mountain facilities.

We try to book each family at a respite facility during the peak season at least once during their time in our programs. Families who have not stayed with us during a peak season will be prioritized over families who have. Families who have enjoyed a peak season respite are still eligible for another stay, but may only be able to do so during less popular times of the year.

Do you ever have last-minute cancellations?

Occasionally, a family will have to cancel at the last minute and a respite home will have an opening with only a few days advance notice. Send an email to if you wish to be contacted when these situations arise.

Can we bring our family pet?

No. Due to health regulations and the sometimes fragile medical circumstances of other families in our respite program, no pets of any kind are permitted in our respite homes.