CASS Housing developed out of a number of conversations with families who all had one primary question and concern:
What's going to happen to my child when I no longer can care for them or when I die?
Because of recent changes in the waiver system in Indiana, for the vast majority of families, the parents of a child with a developmental disability must turn 80 years old or pass away before their child is eligible for funding which would pay for them to be in a waiver home. Once the person does receive the funding, they would be more or less randomly placed in a home, with housemates that they may or may not know, and have staff members who they don't know and have little voice in the hiring.
This process simply isn't acceptable.
However, this is just one question. Another question came from the individuals themselves:
When can I move out of my parents' home?
A large number of adults with disabilities don't want to live with mom and dad until they are 50 years old. They want to be able to be on their own (whatever that may look like). They want to be with friends. They want to be doing what "everyone else" is doing. But there are significant concerns that hinder this transition that every family encounters in spite of the level of ability of their loved one.
Lastly, there have been ongoing conversations with a number of caregivers who simply want something different than what is currently being offered. They speak frequently of just wanting to be with a handful of individuals, to dedicate their lives to the health and happiness of them, but all these other "things" get in the way. Due to dissatisfaction with the current system, families experience high levels of staff turnover which causes turmoil and pain every time one of these well qualified staff members leave.
There has to be a better way.
What is offered?
There are three different models at this time for the Core Members (residents). There is an on-site or live-in support person (Steward) in each home whose role is different depending on the model. However, the Steward isn't just a random person who has applied online looking for a job. The Steward is a person or couple chosen by the families who already has a vested interest in the Core Members. Children of the Stewards are welcomed as space allows.
Homes could be by themselves or in pods or clusters of 2-5 houses that are located throughout northeast Indiana at this time. Through the admissions process, we will assist Core Members and families in choosing the best home for the Core Members in the desired area of town. This could be in a rural, suburban, or urban setting.
CASS Housing will not utilize any state funding for payment of the Stewards. Waiver hours will still be used to maintain each individual's schedule whether attending work, day program, going out 1-1 with staff, growing with recreation or music therapy, and/or time with their behavioral consultant.