Supporting Families

Building a National Agenda for Supporting Families with an Individual with Disabilities

11206802_1592541147691367_7610755418637178260_o[1]What is Family Support?

Family Support is more than a program or service; it is the concept of supporting families who care for a member of their family with a disability.

It is a set of strategies directed to the family unit, but ultimately benefit the person with a disability.

Supporting the family strategies is intended to assist family members who have a key role in providing support and guidance of their family member with disabilities to address the emotional, physical and  material well-being of the entire family. They should be flexible, comprehensive, coordinated and include the following:

  • Information, Assistance and Navigation: This includes best practices within and outside of disability services, accessing and coordinating community supports, and advocacy and leadership skills.
  • Emotional Supports and Community Connections:  Connecting families to their community and connections with other families, including parents with disabilities, self-advocates and siblings, grandparents and other guardians for mutual  support.
  • Goods and Services that are specific to the daily support and care-giving role for the person with disabilities, such as planning for current and future needs, respite, crisis prevention and intervention, systems navigation, home modifications, and health/wellness management.

Wisconsin families interested in improving our systems of support can use these strategies as a frameworks for discussion. The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities currently funds a 5 year Community of Practice initiative on Supporting Families. The Community of Practice (a learning environment of intensive exploration of a policy) will build capacity in six states to better support families and use the National Agenda’s strategies to do this.

To learn more go to http://supportstofamilies.org/cop/

To read the National Agenda Report (Wingspread) go to Wingspread Final Report