Showing Up for Families
November 13, 2020
Supporting unique service options to meet individual needs
Many individuals and families served by Foothills Gateway (FGI) had to adopt the quarantine lifestyle when the pandemic first began; some did so to protect elderly parents or grandparents, while others were acutely aware of their own health risks.
Maya and her mom, Rendi, knew that Maya was at a higher risk because of her disability. So, to ensure Maya’s health and safety, they chose to discontinue the services Maya was receiving five days a week.
The supports Maya receives come through the Children’s Extensive Services (CES) waiver. This waiver has a rule stating that if a family does not receive services for a full month, they will be taken off of the waiver so that other families have the opportunity to receive those resources.
In normal times, this rule is of little concern for families like Maya and Rendi who receive supports regularly. However, the suspension of services to protect Maya’s health put them at risk of losing this essential resource.
It was time to get creative
One of Rendi’s friends, and fellow mother, texted to let her know that, due to the pandemic, waiver rules had changed at the state level allowing parents and guardians to provide official supports under two categories of CES: Home Maker and Community Connector.
Thrilled by the opportunity, Rendi reached out to Maya’s Case Manager at Foothills Gateway. “We have already been with FGI, so my Case Manager reached out to (the CES Director), and I believe I was the first legal representative that was hired through FGI to provide the Community Connector (services),” Rendi shared.
Under this new rule, Rendi became an official employee of Foothills Gateway. She explained, “The agreement between myself and FGI was that I was solely working with my own child and not with other children.”
Even with the limited scope, Rendi had to take all required trainings that FGI Direct Support Professionals complete.
“As a parent of a client of FGI, I was very impressed with the level of training that staff get. I did not realize that they were that highly trained,” Rendi said. “I was actually shocked at the level of training that providers are getting, and I was able to use that training with my daughter during Community Connector services with an emergency event.”
“Foothills Gateway is showing up for us as a family by helping me support my child’s unique needs and supporting our access to the community.”
Community Connector is exactly what it sounds like: services and supports to help individuals with disabilities access their local community and people of all abilities so they can learn to navigate society independently.
Rendi and Maya were able to stay busy during quarantine this summer and further Maya’s planned goals that would have stopped in their tracks without the new flexibility of CES. Here are just a few examples of things they did:
- Special Olympics social distancing walk with friends around Lake Loveland
- Pastels on 5th – Maya had her own square and won 2nd place among the event’s artists
- Teaching Maya to play Velcro catch ball
- Yoga in the park
- Teaching Maya to play “old school, 80’s handball” at the elementary school (while closed)
- Walking through our neighborhood, working on directional and safety awareness
- Veteran’s Park encouragement signs Maya posted at the park
- Veteran’s Park swings with the gloves FGI provided
- Leaving Act of Kindness Cards or Encouragement Cards throughout the city during walks
- Leaving food in the little libraries and the Garfield Food Pantry library
Rendi closed, “FGI was that platform to allow me to be able to still meet my child’s service needs – to still make sure that we secured that waiver (resource) and didn’t lose it. It was critical… and it pushed me to work on some things that we wouldn’t have worked on before.”
“I have been so grateful.”
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