Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) our Nonprofit Takes another Huge Step Forward: M&L, CIF and Core Families Welcomes Rebecca Rubin, LCSW-C as the lead social worker for the ILRI Assessments

 September 26, 2014
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Friday, September 26th 2014

Please note: M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC is in the process of filing Integrated Living Opportunities as a non-profit 501c3 – as soon as this  process is official, we will release an announcement.

Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog this week! As you can probably tell from the title of this post, M&L has some incredibly exciting news to share with you all today: Rebecca Rubin, LCSW-C has agreed to join our nonprofit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) as the lead social worker trainer for the Independent Living Readiness Inventory™ assessments! The staff at Center for Independent Futures™ (CIF), M&L Special Needs Planning, and our core group of families are thrilled to welcome Rebecca to the team.

Those families in the special needs community of Maryland will no doubt know who Rebecca Rubin is. Rebecca is well known and respected in the community. For our part, we are thrilled to have someone like Rebecca perform the assessments on our family members. So, please join us today as we welcome Rebecca – below is a brief introduction of Rebecca’s work and educational history, some history of how the nonprofit ILO came to be, and a description of how ILRI™ assessments will work.  Most importantly, we will discuss why the ILRI is a critical part of the process when a family member joins ILO our nonprofit.

Special Needs Community Development – A Brief History

If you are new to this blog, and aren’t familiar with the work that M&L, CIF and the core families have been doing in Maryland and Washington, D.C. in regards to special needs community development, then our announcement may raise more questions than answers for you. So, for the sake of those who may be joining us for the first time, here is a little bit of background info. If you are already familiar with M&L’s community development mission, please skip this section.

Over the last year and a half, M&L Special Needs Planning has expanded the focus of their financial and life planning business to include offering services related to independent living and community development for individuals with disabilities. (Note: For a more in-depth explanation of the motivations behind this, please read our blog titled M&L: Your Special Needs Housing Experts).

M&L began their crusade to end the special needs housing crisis by designing and launching a one-of-a-kind online housing database, the Independent Living Program and Housing Project. This database contains information for more than 800 independent living programs and housing options, as well as housing information and resources, from across the United States. Once this database was up and running, (as of November 2013 – to learn more or to subscribe, please click here) M&L decided it simply wasn’t enough. They teamed up with CIF to complete their New Futures Initiative training, with the end goal of replicating CIF’s Community Living Option™ housing in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and eventually Virginia. To read more about this process and the progress that M&L, CIF and the core families have made over the last year, please click here.

Welcome, Rebecca! An Introduction to Our Nonprofit ILO Newest Asset

Now that everyone is up to speed with what we are trying to accomplish in regards to special needs housing and community development, it is time for the exciting part: welcoming Rebecca!

Rebecca, who received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Penn State and her Master’s in the same field from Boston University, has an incredibly impressive work history. She began her working career at the Montgomery County Crisis Center in 1994 working as a community mental health counselor. In that capacity, Rebecca performed walk in and phone crisis intervention, performed mobile crisis intervention to the community, facilitated interagency training on crisis intervention, and developed program protocols for the agency. For the next five to six years, Rebecca continued her impressive work with crisis intervention and behavioral health, working at Suburban Hospital Crisis Services, and Suburban Hospital Behavioral Health.

In 2000, Rebecca first entered the world of special needs housing by accepting a position with the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH). Beginning as a social worker with the organization, Rebecca quickly moved through the ranks to first act as the Director of Social Work, and then the Director of Programs. During her time at JFGH, Rebecca supervised a team of 5 residential and support services program administrators, provided individual, group, family counselling and advocacy, developed and monitored family/advocate programs, and facilitated the entire admission process and coordinated waiting list programs at the organization, among other things.

In 2012, Rebecca branched out on her own to create her own business, Disability Support Solutions, LLC – this business provides a “comprehensive, flexible and support approach to meeting the preferences of individuals and their families.” Disability Support Services offers assistance with advocacy, transition plans, service providers, entitlement programs, community resources, and therapeutic support.

Rebecca’s list of accomplishments doesn’t end there; over the course of her career Rebecca has developed a number of training programs and presentations that are relevant to families with special needs. Some examples of these programs/presentations include “Improving Quality of Life: Community Programs and Resources”, “Residential Models for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities”, and “The Transitioning Youth Process for Families”.

I’m sure at this point you can see why we are so ecstatic to have Rebecca join our team.

ILRI – What is it?

Throughout the course of this blog, we have referenced a process that we have been calling ILRI. In fact, Rebecca is signing on to be the lead social worker who assesses the young adults that go through the ILRI process. Rebecca will be working alongside Debbie Fickenscher, a founding family member and an educator for 30 years.  At this point (or maybe before now), you may have been asking yourselves: what is ILRI? To begin, ILRI is acronym we use to refer to the Independent Living Readiness Inventory™, a process that was created by CIF as a part of their Community Living Options™ housing model.

As we wrote in an earlier blog that describes the ILRI in detail, “The Independent Living Readiness Inventory™ (ILRI) was developed by CIF, and is “an integrated evaluation and interactive assessment of a young adult’s daily living skills and experiences.” Essentially, the Inventory is administered by two consultants (in ILO’s case, Rebecca as the social worker and Debbie as the educator) that have been trained by CIF in assessing and determining an individual’s independence skill set. During the inventory process, the consultants gather background information on the individual, and observes the individual’s independent living skills through “hands-on, experiential activities.”

To read a more detailed explanation of the ILRI, please click here to read a previous blog post we published on the topic. The most important thing to know, however, is that CIF considers the ILRI™ to be an essential first step towards moving into an independent living setting. Here at M&L, we have to agree. The IRLI™ is an important tool that provides us with an unbiased assessment of an individual’s readiness to live independently – as well, the consultant’s final report provides “a basis for making decisions and creates a blueprint of skills to be learned, experiences to be obtained, or supports to be acquired to ensure a safe and productive independence.” It is also important to keep in mind that the IRLI™ is not only a tool for initial assessment – it can also be used in the long term as a standard by which to gauge future skills development and independent living growth. By using the IRLI™ as a detailed blueprint of an individual’s skills and abilities, we will be able to identify any gaps and make recommendations to improve and maintain his or her existing skill set, as well as any newly acquired skill sets.

Would You Like To Join our Nonprofit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO)?

Thank you all so much for visiting our blog today! We are so excited that you could be a part of the many exciting developments that have taken place since we began this special needs community building project last year. If you would like more information on ILO or the ILRI and interested in joining us, please contact us! We are currently looking for families to form a second core group for community development in Montgomery County, and for families to create the first core group for housing in Washington, D.C. or Virginia – please give us a call, and become a part of this revolutionary, integrated, community development project.

Please drop by our blog again next week; we will be writing about employment options for individuals with disabilities. Have a good one!

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