Friday, May 9, 2014

Community of Practice: Family Matters

It should come as no surprise that the majority of individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) live with and receive daily care and support from their families; and yet, despite the vital role that families play in supporting their sons and daughters with I/DD, states have fallen short in building systems or assisting families in developing community connections that recognize and support their commitment.

Our state’s No Paid Services Caseload is filled with thousands of such families who are trying to avert crisis and keep the family intact. Many have made community connections that meet their needs but others are holding on in the hope that one day funding for services will reach them.

Addressing the lack of community connections and funding is essential, and our state has been working hard on that front; but to reach a long-term solution, we need a comprehensive system that reflects the values and realities of today’s families.

In an effort to focus on the needs of families, the Developmental Disabilities Council and the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration, applied for and received a five-year Community of Practice grant to explore different ways of supporting families across the lifespan of the individual.

Community of Practice Goals:
  • to create a model framework for supporting families;
  • to develop and sustain exemplary family  support practices;
  • to build capacity within states and the nation to create policies, practices, and systems that assist and support families;
  • to capture and share lessons learned and products to develop, implement and sustain exemplary practices to support  families and systems.

A kick-off event was held for the Washington State Community of Practice last fall. Almost 100 individuals (including self-advocates, family members, community organization representatives and more) from across the state came together to begin the discussion of how Washington will work to improve systems of support for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Community of Practice Wants to Hear From YOU

The DD Council is planning to host listening sessions throughout the state on topics of important to Community of Practice. If you are interested in participating in a listening session, or would like to join the Community of Practice listserve, email Ed Holen at: ed(dot)holen(at)ddc(dot)wa(dot)gov.

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