As states continue to further their understanding of the framework and implement actions, policies and practices, there are common topics that have emerged that states would like to delve into more deeply. Over the past five years, the themes that have commonly reoccurred when looking at improving supports to families
The Supporting Families Community of Practice launched Innovation Workgroups in 2016 that are focused on these themes, where state team members are working with the national content experts and partner states to learn, share, and shape promising practices. These workgroups are closed to the public, but we look forward to sharing the learning and outTo work across states in rethinking, redesigning and implementing changes to the first interaction families have at the Front-Door of agencies when reaching out to the formal service systems, including long term services. The Innovations Workgroup’s purpose is to share what states have done and brainstorm what can be done to change the Front Door conversations from solely a discussion of the service system to also provide families information, bridges to connect with other families, community networks, and other strategies that focus on hopeful and positive futures.
The Community of Practice is looking at how states are addressing (or could address) support coordination practices through ISP templates and processes as well as policies and standards and how to foster needed changes through the lens of the LifeCourse.
The CoP Support Coordination Innovations Workgroup will have conversations around expanding and developing on LifeCourse support coordination practices to increase the system’s ability to support families’ and individual’s trajectory toward the good life are the focus of this innovation area.
Family Front Door
The CoP is exploring how state developmental disability agencies are changing (or could change) the interactions, conversations, forms, processes, and practices that intake workers have with families when they first touch the formal service system. From jargon-free information, streamlining forms, addressing immediate needs and giving information/ideas based on the LifeCourse framework, the project has been exploring positive strategies that not only look at eligibility based services but also those that assist families to look at their own personal strengths, relationships and resources, technology, as well as resources available to all community members.
The purpose of the CoP Family Front Door Innovations Workgroup is to work across states in rethinking, redesigning and implementing changes to the first interaction families have at the Front-Door of agencies when reaching out to the formal service systems, including long term service and share what states have done and brainstorm what can be done to change the Front Door conversations from solely a discussion of the service system to also provide families information, bridges to connect with other families, community networks, and other strategies that focus on hopeful and positive futures.
Family Engagement, Networks and Leadership
The CoP has been looking at family engagement, networks and leadership strategies and structures currently in place, growing, or in the planning process across CoP states. The project has been exploring successful practices such as
- strong connections with Family to Family and related groups,
- mapping those connections and creating capacity to enroll statewide family leaders,
- creating a statewide network of peer to peer support with mentorship and family navigation,
- different opportunities for the networks to support the family as well as the family member, and
- being intentional on how families can help shape meaningful policies and programs.
The purpose of the CoP Family Engagement, Networks and Leadership Innovations Workgroup is to provide a platform for states to strengthen practices and opportunities in the connecting and networking bucket of support. Through the development and sustainability of family and self-advocacy networks, CoPs heighten the mental health and self-efficacy of families and provide a springboard for families to advocate for needed and desired changes on the trajectory to a good life, and opportunities to represent the family perspective at a systems level.
Policies for Supporting Families; Funding, Regulations, Policies, and Structures
The CoP has been taking a close look at how states are innovating (or could further innovate) and launching Medicaid waiver and other Medicaid authority changes, both through services and funding strategies, that include supporting families and infuse LifeCourse principles; tying the LifeCourse into states overarching strategic plans across different topical initiatives, policy and regulatory revisions; and, exploring successful strategies that comport with each state’s structure, process for change at factors such as local, state, financial, legislative and cultural context. Work will also focus on changes in federal rules and regulations and how CoP states can explore LifeCourse strategies with potential to increase compliance and satisfaction. Calls and webinars will be documented and available to members.
The CoP Policies for Supporting Families Innovations Workgroup will work across CoP states in developing/aligning Medicaid waivers and other Medicaid authorities in supporting families, analyzing needed policies and recommending changes and tying the LifeCourse Framework into state’s overall system and structural transformation efforts across programs, funding and services, including furthering federal regulation implementation through implementing the LifeCourse. The overall purpose of the Family Policy Workgroup is to explore funding, policy and transformation changes that benefit families and individuals with disabilities, while assisting to achieve states’ transformation goals.
Employment and Families
The state teams in the CoP have been digging deep into the integral role family member’s play in setting the expectations and helping their family members explore the world of work and higher education. From giving young children responsibilities early on, encouraging families to dream of a successful, contributing job in the community based on experiences and interests, and encouraging planning for transition for both youth exiting high school and adult family members seeking work and careers, state teams are working to explore action steps taken, activities states are currently doing, and exploring the road ahead for employment through the LifeCourse Framework.
The CoP Employment and Supporting Families Innovations Workgroup’s activities are designed to lead to practical ways to assist families, their family members with disabilities, school personnel, support coordinators and the extended relationships and resources families have to encourage and foster employment and careers for their family member. Methods to help families think early about everyday chores, responsibilities, experiences and dreams leading to a good work life; having system personnel know how to conduct and encourage these practices and looking to linkages not solely dependent on the public system will be some workgroup activities. Deeper exploration of working with families and systems on reducing barriers will be brainstormed.