As children with disabilities get older, and their parents get older as well, we realize more urgently the need for housing for these young people. As they see their siblings going off to college and getting their own apartments, they also want to experience this independence away from the family home. After much research and many discussions with people who had gone this route before us, LEO decided on the Adult Family Home model – a family type home in a typical neighborhood where five individuals would live with their live-in care provider.
In this model, the care provider contracts through DDA (WA State Developmental Disabilities Administration) to be the Medicaid Personal Care provider for each client. The clients pay a rate set by DDA as their participation rate for the food, household supplies, utilities, insurance, and the day-to-day operation of the home. Adult family homes are licensed by the state and subject to oversight and spontaneous annual inspections by the state licensor, DDA adult family home teams, case managers, nurse oversight, as well as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
LEO accepts applications for residence in our homes, although the final selection is up to the care provider. The main criterion is compatibility, with preference to residents of Issaquah, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend, and other east side cities. Our philosophy for our homes, which is shared by the care providers, is to provide a safe, caring environment in which these young adults will flourish in this first step of independence. All residents are encouraged to be as self-sufficient as possible, both in their physical self-care and social choices for leisure time activities. The care providers provide the assistance as is necessary for the daily living skills. Clients are encouraged to participate in outside recreation activities, as well as some employment or day program.
We now have three homes fully occupied and running very smoothly. It is a thrill to see the joy and contentment of these residents in their homes. We have learned from recent surveys that many local parents wish to see the adult family home model repeated in our community. LEO is committed to continuing our efforts to create more of these homes.
Independent living is also possible in our community. Many apartments accept Section 8 vouchers, which can be obtained by those with developmental disabilities by contacting their DDA case manager.
To help you prepare for your child’s transition to independent living, you can download LEO’s “Guidelines for Educating Your Child Toward Independent Living.”