Outreach Program

Supported Independent Living for Adults with Developmental and Intellectual Challenges


CHD’s Outreach Team assists developmentally disabled adults in the greater Westfield / West Springfield area to develop the self-reliance, independent living skills, personal support system and social network necessary to successfully live on their own with 15 – 25 hours of weekly staff support. Typically, individuals are seen for between 2 and 3 hours a day, 7 days a week. A few individuals who either decline a higher level of service, or who have successfully reduced their needs for assistance, receive between 5 and 7 hours a week. There is an average of 28-33 individuals being served by the program at any given time.

Participants commonly receive support in the areas of:

• Health & Hygiene Maintenance • Money Management • Domestic Skills • Nutrition • Meal Planning & Prep • Grocery Shopping • Social Development • Safety • Housing Acquisition & Retention • Emergency Prevention • Response • Community Membership • Medical, Dental, & Mental Health Services • Acquisition & Maintenance of Generic Entitlements • Recreation & Leisure Activities

Referrals and Eligibility

Any individual desiring to become a participant of the Outreach Team must first apply and be accepted as eligible for services by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Referrals to the Outreach Team program can  only be made by the Westfield/Springfield Area Office of DDS, which provides the program’s funding. Acceptance into the program is determined by the availability of adequate DDS funding, and the ability of the Outreach Team to meet the health, safety and affordable housing needs of an individual choosing to live alone in the community.

Cost

All services provided by the Outreach Team program are funded by the Department of Developmental Disabilities and are free for individuals, except for those costs related to voluntary participation in a wide variety of  monthly “group activities” offered by the program.  Individuals are required to pay for their own admission fees, and food, if they choose to participate in any community-based, group activity. There is also a small “activities fee” charged for voluntary participation in some groups such as Bingo or Arts and Crafts.

What to Expect / What We Can Do

Over the course of the first several months, a variety of skills assessments are conducted and services are developed through a person-centered planning process (the Individual Support Plan or ISP) in conjunction with the Department of Developmental Services.  Goals and support objectives are developed based upon what each individual has identified as things they want to accomplish, as well as needs identified through the skills assessment process. Goals and Objectives are reviewed at an annual ISP Team meeting with the individual (and their family, or anyone else they would like to have participate) and the service providers. Agreement to participate in the plan, is formally confirmed by each Team Member’s signature. Individualized training and supports, as identified in the ISP, are provided by the Outreach Team with a 1:1 staffing ratio, or in co-operative 1:2 learning situations, as well as small group activities.

Supports and training can be provided to address the following areas of need:  Money Management, Domestic Skills, Healthy Meal Planning and Preparation, Functional Academics, Community Integration / Membership, Social Development/ Relationship Building, Health / Hygiene Maintenance, Fire, In-Home, and Community Safety as well as many additional areas.

In-Home Safety Assessments are conducted with individuals every three months to reinforce safe domestic practices and to assess for potential fire and other hazards.

The program assists individuals to meet their medical, dental, and behavioral health  needs with community based providers.  Comprehensive case management services are also provided to help individuals obtain and maintain generic entitlement supports such as Social Security, Food Stamps, Mass Health, Medicaid, Fuel Assistance, and rent subsidies. Assistance is also provided to help obtain affordable, community based housing, or to move, if an individual desires.

Voluntary, Individualized Money Management Plans are developed, when needed, to assist individuals to remain fiscally responsible and to develop the skills needed to manage, to the greatest extent possible, their own funds. If needed, CHD will also serve as the representative payee for an individual.

The Outreach Team also offers individuals the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of social/leisure, arts/crafts, recreational, and educational small group activities.  These take place on the average of 4-5 times per week, with a new calendar of group activities developed monthly. In addition to being fun, these group activities provide people with the opportunity to further develop their social skills,   self-confidence, and enhance their social network.

The program maintains a 24 hour emergency response system for the protection of all participants.

For more information, please contact Program Director, Kristin Bessette, LMHC, LSW at 413-568-4773 or KBessette@chd.org.

Our office is located at:
50 Union Street
Westfield, MA 01085