Pennsylvania Kicks Off Supporting Families Initiative by Awarding Regional Grants

Topics: Announcements, State News, Supporting Families,

According to a recent news release, “the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), which includes the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), kicked off its Supporting Families Initiative by awarding $5,000 grants to 19 regional collaboratives committed to encouraging families of individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism to have high expectations of full and purposeful lives.”

 In February 2016, Pennsylvania was accepted into the National Community of Practice: Supporting Families throughout the Lifespan, which provides leadership, training and technical assistance to develop a statewide strategic plan to support families of individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism. This community of practice is supported by NASDDDS and the University of Kansas City.  Pennsylvania is one of 18 states taking part in this Community of Practice, where states can learn from one another using the same principles and framework, but unique approaches to supporting families.”

 “The goal of the grants is for communities to acknowledge the opportunity for everyone, including individuals with a disability and their families, to live well-rounded lives that include: meaningful jobs in the community, friendships, health and safety, and social and spiritual opportunities,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We invited counties to submit proposals about how they would create partnerships and collaborations to better support local families throughout their lifespans. People living in each area know their region’s strengths, diversity, and needs best.”

 The article further states that the “collaboratives will partner with a variety of local stakeholders and resources: faith communities, businesses, schools, child care facilities, civic organizations, social media, and other families acting as mentors. Regional collaboratives can be individual counties or a number of counties whose communities naturally blend together. “

  “As DHS provides services and supports to more individuals to live, work, and thrive in their own communities, we want to recognize and support the strengths of families so those family members with intellectual disabilities or autism can live the everyday lives they envision for themselves,” DHS Secretary Ted Dallas said. “As part of this initiative, families will begin to use various tools to help them create their vision for their family members and realize the importance of experiences and opportunities at every life stage.”