Thursday, February 21, 2013

Washington State: Respite Care for the "No Paid Services" Caseload

Because We Care - Beyond Inclusion is a Washington State blog that advocates for a full continuum of care for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. 

Because We Care supports HB 1546, a bill before the Washington State legislature that would address some of the needs of 16,000 plus developmentally disabled clients who are eligible for services but do not receive any. They are called the "no paid services" case load. 

Among other things, the bill would make available funding to provide respite services for 4,000 people for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015. 

Many families who already have respite funding have difficulty finding providers who are reliable, competent, and willing to work for low pay. This blog post urges the DD system in Washington State to look beyond in-home care and consider the possibility of using specialized programs for people with DD already in place in schools, recreation departments, county park systems, and other center-based programs:

"By utilizing a center based respite we could pay the providers more than minimum wage which would add to provider stability,  have transportation to and/or from school for after school respite, provide respite right in the community, provide meaningful activities, have staff support (thereby not relying on one person to show up at your house – we have all experienced the unreliability of this situation which only adds to the family’s stress) and there are more eyes on everyone to help with prevention of negligent care."

This sounds good to me, but it is bucking the trend pushed by full inclusion advocates to eliminate disability-only services. The blog post has an answer for that: "Without respite our families are becoming socially excluded – isolated from community.  This is not what the inclusion movement was intended to do but it has become the reality for many families."

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