In 1980, questionnaires were sent to various agencies providing services to children who have special needs within Northumberland County.

Agencies participating in the study included: D’Arcy Place, Family and Children’s Services, Northumberland County, Children’s Special Training Program, Ontario Society of Crippled Children, Physicians Medical Clinics and Public Health. The Northumberland and Newcastle Board of Education completed an abbreviated form for the survey. This original survey was sponsored by the Cobourg Rotary.

The results of the survey indicated a need for a community based parent relief program. The program was implemented June 1, 1981 and has been providing parent respite since the fall of 1981.

In June of 1989 the Adult Committee of Community Services Group with assistance from Northumberland Family Respite Services conducted a similar survey resulting in an expansion of the program to included intellectually disabled adults effective January 1980.

In April 1994 the Family Home Program was initiated resulting in expansion of the program to include community family home placements.

In 2007 Northumberland Family Respite Services became the host agency for the website respiteservices.com for the Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough and Northumberland region.