Author Archives: Barb

PEAL Inclusive Education Conference

Supporting Natural Support Networks

For several years, many of us have been trying to figure out how to move away from systems of support and create natural support networks for ourselves, our family members, and our friends.  I have been fortunate recently to be working with some wonderful people in my other home community in Prince Edward County, Canada around inclusion – in schools and communities.  They are a part of an organization that appears to be trying to work with people rather than provide services to clients.  I wanted to share some of their information to see what you think. 

 

From…

COMMUNITY LIVING PRINCE EDWARD

Picton, ON, Canada

Principles of Support, Standards and Best Practices – September 2009

Community Living Prince Edward’s (CLPE’s) Principles of Support represent the value base of the organization.  It is the responsibility of all employees of CLPE to adhere to and promote these principles, ensuring a high standard of respectful and professional service. 

1.      DIGNITY AND RESPECT

2.      PARTICIPATION IN THE COMMUNITY

3.      PROVIDING SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE

4.      ENHANCING PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

5.      PLANNING WITH PEOPLE

6.      PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH OF PEOPLE

7.      SUPPORTING NATURAL SUPPORT NETWORKS:

      Natural Support Networks are the people involved in a person’s life who have a   lifelong commitment to them, inclusive of family, friends, spouses, partners, and community connections. 

      The involvement of a natural support network is seen as an integral part of the organization’s Mission and Values, in keeping with our principles concerning health and wellness for all people.  Natural Support Networks reduce a person’s reliance on paid employee’s as well as their vulnerability of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation. 

Standards for Natural Support Networks

  1. People will determine who is important to them and who they want in their lives.
  2. People will determine what they want their natural support network relationships to look like.
  3. People will take the lead role in developing/maintaining their relationships.
  4. People will have a circle of natural support networks that are not paid staff. 
  5. People will have action statements included in their plans that foster and nurture natural support networks.
  6. Staff will be knowledgeable about the natural support networks that people have and support people in enhancing and maintaining these networks. 

Best Practices for Natural Support Networks

  • We encourage and support people to make phone calls, write letters & emails, and visit friends and relatives.
  • We keep a written record of people’s natural support networks in their files and document all communication in their personal binders.
  • We respect a person’s privacy and only provide support when necessary.
  • We ensure that where people have family involvement, purposeful plans to get together are made based on the choices of the person. 
  • We ensure that where people have reciprocal relationships with others that are part of their natural support network.
  • We support people to send cards, flowers, purchase gifts, etc. to their natural support networks when celebrating significant events (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day, etc.) based on their personal preference.
  • We support people to use resources such as family trees, genealogy, internet, CAS, etc. to reconnect and find family and friends if they are interested to do so.
  • We support people to use resources to mediate unresolved conflict with family or friends that may be presenting a barrier for developing relationships.
  • We support people to remember people that were important in their life i.e. memorials in the paper, pictures, memory boxes, visiting gravesites, DVD’s, etc.
  • We ensure people are aware of and support people to connect with community resources and support when they are involved in unsafe relationships i.e. Counseling, Alternatives, Al-anon, etc. 

Link to Erin McKenzie Virtual Welcoming Space Blog

You can also find more information about the Jonathan Mooney event as well as see participants’ reflections gathered when John McKnight visited Otterbein College in October, 2007 on the Erin McKenzie Virtual Welcoming Space Blog . In their work, both draw attention to discovering the capacity of each person to build community rather than labeling or obsessing on perceived deficits and needs.

Reports Don’t Capture What You Do

I am helping to write an activities report on the Journey of Ohio TASH toward our vision this past year. It is difficult sometimes to put things into words, especially when you are being required to for a written report. I do believe it is important to try and capture and reflect on those “Ah! Ha!” moments, conversations, and people that renew our committment and energy. Will this report be used as a reminder of our mission? Or will it be filed away or used as some kind of measurement as to our value? I hope it is the former.