LAP Respite Center was established in 1989, as the Lansing Area Parents’ Respite Center with funding from the Federal Government in its first cycle of grant monies to develop respite programs in every state in the country. The first grant proposal was written by many local advocacy leaders and parents of children with disabilities. Judy Wagner was hired as the 1st Director of the program and charged to develop a service delivery respite program for families living in the Tri-County area of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties.
In 1993, LAP (shortened the name to LAP Respite Center) became a private, nonprofit agency with IRS 501(c)(3) status. A volunteer Board of Directors composed of community leaders and family members with the overall responsibility for the operations of LAP Respite Center was established at this time. Expansion of the programs included the renovation and opening of the LAP Respite House in 1995, and in 1996, the opening of the first After School Program for children with disabilities. The After School Program is housed at the Marvin E. Beekman Center in Lansing. The most recent expansion to LAP has been the addition of the Adult/Senior Program in 2006. LAP now provides life span Respite services to the Tri-County Area.
Surveys of the families LAP has served showed that having reliable, knowledgeable care providers is one of the most valued factors of our program. By 2001, LAP published a Respite Training Manual and taught all new employees 32 hours of knowledge and skills about the care of people who have disabilities before they started to work with LAP families. Many LAP families have children with autism and autism like behaviors, seizure disorders, cognitive impairments, physical disabilities and genetic abnormalities which LAP includes in the training.
In 2006, LAP implemented the new department of Adult/Senior programs. With this expansion LAP Respite Center now offers services for life span respite to families who care for children or adults with disabilities, chronic illness or age related conditions. LAP provides a wide range of high-quality services that are planned by LAP staff and family members to meet the needs of each individual.
In 2011, Judy Wagner retired after serving as Executive Director for 22 years. John Stauffer was hired as Executive Director in September 2011.
In August 2012 the LAP Respite Center moved its business operations and merged with the City of East Lansing's ALFA Center, providing an affordable day center for seniors located in the tri-county area. LAP Respite Center is very excited about adding the ALFA program to the other valuable community programs we offer.