Living on your own is a huge part of becoming an adult. For many individuals with disabilities, there can be challenges to independent living. Commonwealth Autism seeks to remove some of these barriers through the Community Support Services (CSS) program offered through The Founders Center.
To start the process, each adult completes a 3-month assessment period, either at Richmond House or in their own independent living arrangement. Working with a designated counselor, individual goals and a plan of action are identified. Each CSS participant receives an average of 3-4 hours per week of service support. Goals can cover areas such as identifying employment opportunities, cooking and grocery shopping skills, housekeeping, navigating transportation, and participation in the community in social activities.
Jennifer Keller, Program Manager for Richmond House, shares that it has been very exciting to see the program participants meet each of the goals they set. “They have really done better than we could have even predicted.” All three of the program’s recent participants are now employed. One program participant had been seeking employment for almost twelve years!
Family input is another important part of the process. Families may provide monetary support, but they also communicate with the CSS team to provide input on goals and even some helpful strategies. “This program allows parents to maintain their relationship with their child,” shares CSS Counselor Chloe Semones. They can continue to have a parent-child relationship without needing to act in the role of employment coach or housekeeper.
If you would like more information about the Community Support Services program provided through The Founders Center, you can check out their website or contact them at 804-355-1011.