"A Home of My Own" promotes all of the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) goals put forth in Everyday Lives. These goals, and the specific strategies and performance criteria to measure each goal, have been developed by people with intellectual disabilities and autism, families, supports coordinators, advocates, and providers. The goals serve as a guide for everyone engaged in developing, providing, and advocating for services in the ODP system.
"A Home of My Own" is actively promoting and working to ensure the following goals are inherent in the supports we provide:
- Every person has an effective way to communicate in order to express choice and ensure their health and safety
- Promote self-direction, choice and control, including where and with whom to live
- Employment is a centerpiece of adulthood and must be available for everyone
- Support for families, including information and resources to help their family member achieve an Everyday Life
- Promote physical and mental health, health and wellness, and personal safety
- Develop and support qualified staff
- Increase community participation in order to create opportunities for new experiences, develop friendships, and make a contribution to the community
- Expand options for community living so people can live where and with whom they want to live by blending government benefits and natural supports
How do families find each other to form a partnership to support their family members in a home of their own?
One of the unique features of Achieva’s "A Home of My Own" initiative is the partnerships families are forming to enable their sons and daughters to live together and establish homes of their own. Not everyone has or wants a housemate. However, for those that do, their families are meeting, establishing relationships, and working together to support their family members. Most importantly, they all have the same goal in mind: to support their family member to move out of the family home and into a place of their own. These are families who are listening to their adult children saying they want to move out of their parents home and live with someone else, maybe as their brothers and sisters have done. These are families who will be on the waiting list for years if they do not work together to go down a different path.
"A Home of My Own" families are coming together in different ways.
Some of the families have known each other for years. Many met when their children were young; they coached a sports team together or their children attended the same school. They always had the idea or dream their children would live together as adults. Since these families have known each other for years, they tend to live close to each other and have had similar educational and community services. They also tend to have similar values and know they can work together, because they have done so in the past (remember the bake sales!)
"A Home of My Own" Support Brokers are also introducing families to one another based on thinking their family members would be compatible housemates. It has been amazing to introduce families to one another over a meal and then watch how they take over the conversation about their family members, where they would like them to live, and their support needs.
Support coordinators are also playing matchmakers. Based on their knowledge of people, their support needs, and their families, they are talking with families about other families they know who are thinking about their son or daughter moving into a home of their own. Families are meeting, working together, and also supporting each other. For most families of people with disabilities, the decision for the individual to move out of the family home is not easy. It is only natural to worry about their happiness, health, and safety. (Then, there are the worries about whether they are eating properly, cleaning their apartment, doing their laundry, staying up too late, watching too much TV, what they are watching on TV… the list seems endless.) Having another family member to go through the experience with you is a huge source of support!
Questions to ask about "A Home of My Own".
What is the mission statement, vision statement, and values of Achieva?
What is the management structure of the "A Home of My Own" program?
What experience do the life coaches have?
How is “A Home of My Own” different from other residential programs?
When and why was “A Home of My Own” created?
What is the philosophy in hiring life coaches?
Can I/we speak with other families who have chosen “A Home of My Own”?
What supports does the program offer?
How do you ensure your staff is familiar with our family member and the Individual Support Plan (ISP)?
If I have concerns about my family member’s services, how will those concerns be addressed?
What is your approach in including families in decision making, conflict resolution, and other issues?
Can I/we be involved in choosing the life coaches who will work with my family member?
How do you support people so they are included in their communities?
How do you monitor people’s safety?
How are groceries purchased and meals prepared?
Do you teach people about healthy eating?
How are medical appointments handled?
How often can we visit our family member?