Resource Spotlight: The Arc’s Center for Future Planning
Thursday, July 28 2016
As you are all aware, M&L’s non-profit ILO is an organization dedicated to building intentional communities for adults with disabilities – inclusive, integrated communities built on networks of support. These networks are connected to the self-advocate now and for the rest of their lives, even after parents/guardians are gone.
As ILO staff, volunteers and participating families work to build these intentional communities that connect participating families to each other (and self-advocates to the community in which they live), the people behind ILO strive to ensure that they emphasize the importance of long term planning. At M&L and ILO, we believe that having a plan – financial planning, life planning or both – can create positive outcomes and lead to a successful, integrated, financially stable future.
With this in mind, we would like to share with you and welcome you to today’s blog, and offer our very first “resource spotlight” by introducing you to a valuable online resource: The Arc’s Center for Future Planning.
The Arc’s Center for Long Term Planning: What is it?
The Center for Long Term Planning was created by – of course – The Arc. In a nutshell, the Arc is the oldest and largest advocacy organization that promotes the human rights of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and supports their full inclusion in the community.
The Center for Future Planning involves helping individuals with I/DD “create a guide” which helps that individual “lead a good life as independently as possible.” As the Center points out, “having a plan is important throughout all stages of life and especially in the future after the parent of caregiver is no longer able to provide support.”
The Center for Future Planning helps individuals plan for the future in five ways: by teaching them about future planning, actively helping individuals to build their own plan (interactive website), connecting individuals to professionals that will help with the planning process, providing examples of how other have planned, and offering emergency advice and resources to those that find themselves in immediate need.
Learn about Future Planning
This section introduces the user to the concept of future planning, including a discussion of why future planning is necessary, what points should be considered (i.e. daily routines, needs and wants, supports, etc.), who should be on the individual’s future planning team, questions to think about as you complete this process, and tips to begin planning. A must read for anyone just beginning the planning process.
Build Your Plan™
Build Your Plan ™ is an interactive online tool that enables the user and his or her family to get started on their future plan(s). The first step to this process is to answer a series of questions, and then create a user name/login. Once this step is completed, the user is taken to a screen where he or she is guided through specific parts of the complete plan, i.e. expressing wishes for the future, deciding where to live, or financing the future, to name a few. Using this tool, users can build and view a future plan, all while being connected to The Arc’s team in the event that assistance and/or guidance is needed.
The Find a Professional tool provided by The Arc helps connect individuals with I/DD with professionals that can help with the future planning process. Their Professional Services Directory helps these individuals search by type of professional and state, streamlining the process to ensure easier access to qualified service professionals. (Note: the professionals and organizations in the directory have paid to be included.)
The See How Others Have Planned section of the website includes a number of case studies of individuals with disabilities that have completed the future planning process, and are enjoying successful, integrated lives (with level of independence in accordance with the individual’s wants and needs). Please take a moment to read these stories, as they act both as an inspiration and also as a discussion around which you can help individuals with disabilities decide what they would like their futures to look like.
The Urgent Help webpage of the online center contains useful and practical advice on how to acquire supports and services for an individual with I/DD that has an immediate need for temporary or permanent support because a parent or primary caregiver can no longer provide that help. Contact information and resources are provided to help individuals that may be faced with this situation.
Would You Like More Information?
Thank you all so much for taking the time to visit our blog today. We strongly urge you to consider beginning to plan for the future of your family and family member with special needs if you haven’t done so already.
If you would like to learn even more about future planning for individuals with I/DD, The Center for Future Planning is full of information that we have only touched on in this blog. We also recommend browsing through the Blog Archive, on the ILO website. They publish a post weekly, and are committed to providing relevant, current, reliable information on a range of issues that affect individuals with disabilities. You can subscribe to their blog and receive weekly notices of new posts by entering your name and email into the “Subscribe to our Blog” box on the right hand side of their blog webpage. We also recommend that you browse through our own blog archive – there are many, many posts related to both financial and life planning that you may find helpful.
If you have any questions about this topic, or would like to discuss how to begin planning for the future of your family with special needs, please contact us! We would love to hear from you.
Thanks again – we hope to see you again next week!
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