Supporting Individuals and Families
The Family Support Department is comprised of approximately 400 individuals and families. We continue to support families living in the eleven towns in our region of the state that we serve. Those towns are Atkinson, Plaistow, Danville, Sandown, Derry, Chester, Salem, Newton, Pelham, Windham and Hampstead.
The Family Support Council serves as an advisory council to the Family Support Department. The Council is comprised of a group of parents who have children with disabilities. They assist in guiding the department to address issues and ideas that are meaningful to those that we support. The Council meets once a month on the third Tuesday of the month, during the school year. Please take a moment and browse the Family Support Council’s page on our website. If you are interested in joining the Family Support Council, please contact me.
We have four full time staff and one part time staff person. The full time staff consists of three Support Coordinators and one Director. The one part time staff is our Administrative Assistant. Each Support Coordinator has a case load of approximately 120 individuals and families that they regularly support. The Support Coordinators assist families in a variety of ways. We offer guidance and assistance with applying for guardianship, SSA benefits, NH Medicaid benefits as well as a variety of other community resources. Supporting families during the transition years is imperative to our involvement with our families. We attend school meetings, meetings with other local agencies, such as the Center for Life Management (CLM). Families work directly with their Support Coordinator to define the level and intensity of support that they are looking for.
There are many supports that we offer to families, but because they are so individualized, it is difficult to mention them all. A few examples could be assisting a family to find a specialist, a home health agency, obtaining an approval for disposable undergarments, obtaining information about local community resources, connecting families with other families, etc.
Every family receives supports that are centered to their individual needs. Some families receive respite care reimbursement. This support offers the family an opportunity to get a break as well as alleviating some of the burden of the cost of child care. Although we do not employ respite providers, we do have a small list of providers that families can contact for services. We are happy to share that list as well as look for providers on an individual basis to assist families in finding someone that meets their family’s needs.
Some families take advantage of our periodic behavioral supports that we offer. Our periodic behavioral support services are provided in the home and assist families in devising a behavior plan and/or offering suggestions to everyday concerns with their child. This support has proven to be very beneficial to many families in supporting their children at home.
We continue to offer camperships once a year to individuals that receive family support (see the bottom of the page for more information). The camperships are designed to financially assist a family in sending their child to camp. These grants are offered every spring. We also keep information on camps and assist families in finding an appropriate camp for their child.
We also provide supports surrounding Environmental Modifications. We have funds allocated to us annually to support modifications that are made to your child’s environment (vehicle, home) in order for it to be accessible. An application needs to be completed and quotes need to be obtained. Two quotes need to be obtained for any modifications that total over $5000. Your Support Coordinator can assist you through this process and answer questions, point you in the direction of contractors, vendors, etc. We believe that being able to access our home & community is crucial for all of us.
The NH Family Support Conference is held annually at the Mt. Washington Hotel during the first weekend of May. The Family Support Council supports families in offering grants to attend the conference and stay overnight at the hotel. This is always a wonderful way to meet new people, spend time with friends while being offered new information. It is a wonderful experience and a great learning opportunity. Look for the brochure to be mailed to you in late February or early March.
A social opportunity that is offered to individuals from the age 14 through 21 is the Youth group. The SARC Youth Group meets once a month during the school year in the Salem area. This is a wonderful opportunity for our youth to explore the local community with friends. They participate in many fun activities such as bowling, shopping, crafts, miniature golf, sports activities as well as parties and cookouts. We encourage you to contact your support coordinator about this group. We are always looking for new members to join the fun!
The Family Support Department provides the In Home Support Waiver to families with children birth to the age of 21. This waivered service is paid for by state and federal dollars; therefore, the child must have NH Medicaid in order to receive this service. The intent of the IHSW service is to provide care in the home to the child. The child and family have to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible, but the basic supports provided are personal care services to the child as well as respite, behavioral consultation, environmental modifications, etc. For more detailed information, please contact your support coordinator.
We try to offer a variety of information sharing events throughout the year. We participate in several community events to share information about our department. We provide trainings to our families and the community on a regular basis. We also participate in Transition events through the Transition Collaborative in our area. This is always a great way for families to begin planning for the future by meeting vendors, other parents, etc.
The Transition Guide has been updated and a Transition Checklist has been devised for all Family Support staff to use when working with families in the transition age. The Transition Guide and checklist work together to assist the family and staff through the process of Transition. They assist the staff and family in outlining areas of need, plans of action, etc. We have also devised many packets to send families at different ages. For example, a specific three page outline on what to do when your child turns 18 will be mailed to the parents of children that we support at the age of 17 and a half. We are continuously updating the transition process to ensure that those families receive accurate information and support along the way. As always, we ask all families to invite us to their child’s IEP meeting so we are able to assist when needed and remain involved through the transition period.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Family Support. Please contact us at any time with your suggestions, questions, and comments.
The Family Support Department in conjunction with the Family Support Council of Community Crossroads offers workshops and trainings as well as special events to benefit the individuals and families we serve.
The Medicaid/Guardianship Application workshops we offer are ongoing and open to the public. We supply the application forms needed for these hands-on workshops and we offer suggestions on how to respond to each question. Families will have time to partially complete the forms during the workshop with us, but the main purpose of the trainings is to become familiar with the process and the forms and have enough understanding to complete the applications at home.