Family support provides assistance to families caring for their children with developmental disabilities at home. The program addresses the unique needs that arise when a child has a developmental disability. Because the program is based on disability rather than economic need, there is no income test for eligibility. Family support services supplement family and community resources to help children with disabilities and their families thrive at home and in the community. The program strives to help children and families remain independent, healthy and safe.
Through the family support program, families determine what they need most. Families have the flexibility to choose services and providers. Families and children's service coordinators work together to develop a plan that revolves around the needs of the child and family. In some cases, a family may access family support for a brief time while other families may need an on-going family support plan.
The family support program is more than just money for services. Before family support funds are spent, the service coordinator and family work to identify all available resources from the family and community. These might include people, support-groups, public and private programs, private insurance, and many other resources. The family support program helps ensure that all available resources are accessed creatively and leveraged to the greatest possible benefit of the child and family. State money is used only for those services which are not available from any other resource.,/p>
Values and Philosophy of Service
Family support services are based on the belief that all children have the right to a stable family relationship in the community. The program is grounded in the knowledge that families are the greatest resource available to children. Like typically developing children, children with disabilities need enduring relationships in nurturing homes. The extraordinary care needs a child may have related to a developmental disability may stretch family resources, strength and energy. Family support services are proactive, and are intended to help prevent families from going into crisis. These services provide families with the assistance they need to remain healthy, independent and safe.
In addition to supporting families, the program strives to help children with developmental disabilities access community resources and be active members of their communities. Sometimes, children with disabilities need additional services or assistance in order to participate in community recreational or cultural activities. The family support program helps families find the tools to provide children with these supports.
Families know their needs best. This is why families, in collaboration with their service coordinator, identify the services and supports most needed by their family. Family support empowers families by giving them the ability to choose their staff and assume the role of the employer.
Ultimately, family support keeps families together while enhancing their capacity, independence and quality of life.
Eligibility for the Family Support Program
Eligibility for the family support program is based upon disability, not upon financial need. There is no income test for receiving family support services.
To be eligible for family support services, a child must be between the ages of birth and 18, and be eligible for developmental disability services as determined by the Community Developmental Disabilities Programs (CDDP). The child must live in the family home. He or she cannot be receiving other department paid in-home, community living or family support services except for Medicaid, adoption assistance, or short-term assistance intended to prevent out of home placement.
If a child is living in a state funded residential program, he or she may receive family support services if the child needs these services to return to the family home. In this case, the funds must be designated for the child by the Department.
A child may enter family support services once the Community Developmental Disabilities Programs determines that the child is eligible and that there are sufficient funds to serve that child. As well, a child may receive family support services any time the Department designates funds for the child through a contract with the CDDP in order to provide supports necessary to prevent out-of-home placement of the eligible child.
Family Support Plans
The children's service coordinator or family support consultant will work with the family to develop a written family support plan. The planning process must be child and family centered.
A written plan will be completed within the first 90 days of entry into family support services. It also includes an estimate of service costs and identifies sources of funding. It also includes an estimate of the cost of services, and documents where the funding and support will come from. Plans will be reviewed at least annually.
Family support services are flexible and tailored to the needs of each family. However, these services must fall within the parameters outlined by the family support rule. All other available means of providing needed supports must be exhausted before using family support funds. Only goods and services necessary for a child to be supported in the family home can be purchased with family support dollars. Family support funds cannot be used to supplant normal parent responsibility.
Family support funds can be used to purchase goods, services and supports including:
- Behavior consultation
- Community inclusion
- Environmental accessibility adaptations
- Family caregiver supports
- Family training
- In-home support
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Respite care
- Special diets
- Specialized equipment and supplies
- Speech, hearing, and language services
Family support service coordinators and families work together to assess family needs and determine which goods, services and supports are most appropriate for the family.
For more information about the family support program in your area, contact your local Community Developmental Disabilities Programs.
For general questions, please contact Bruce Baker at 503-945-9800 or firstname.lastname@example.org