[This article about the Family Supports program is by Lorie Winn, Director of the Cobb County Community Services Board’s Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Department.]
As parents and caregivers, we all want what is best for our children to ensure their success in life. However, families with children who have intellectual/developmental disabilities often face challenges that are stressful and include social isolation and financial strain. These families can easily become overwhelmed by day-to-day events, and many find it difficult to navigate the service system for their child while finding social and emotional support for themselves.
The Family Supports program at the Cobb County Community Services Board (CCCSB) helps families access a broad array of supports and services available in the community. The goal is to help make important connections to resources that can help families with children who have intellectual/developmental disabilities and/or behavioral health challenges and to improve and expand upon the person-centered care that each family needs.
“Family Supports is the gateway services for families with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Georgia,” says CCCSB’s Family Support Coordinator Rae McGinnis. “It is the front door that can assist people in finding the resources they need. Seventy-five percent of what we do in our division at CCCSB is linking people to services.”
McGinnis says funding through the program, up to a maximum of $3,000 per year, can go towards therapies and activities not covered by a private insurance company. A few of the most common services include information and referral, respite, community and social activities, summer camps, special diets, clothing, and personal care items. Qualifying families may be eligible for one-time home modifications or medical equipment that may make daily-living activities easier for individuals. Many families who do qualify may not know that those who receive funds through the Katie Beckett Medicaid Program are still eligible for Family Supports.
Funds through Family Supports are limited and are based on a “most-in-need” determination and are also not guaranteed the following year. Individuals with eligible diagnoses for the program include, but are not limited to:
• Developmental disability
• Intellectual disability
• Cerebral Palsy
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Down Syndrome
According to McGinnis, state guidelines make anyone ineligible for the state-funded and regulated Family Supports program if an individual’s diagnosis is made after age 22, or if he or she has the NOW and COMP waiver. “Family Supports is a non-entitlement program,” explains McGinnis. “Families are granted programs and services on a person-to-person basis. I am happy to assist and work with families to develop an individualized Family Support Service Plan.”
For more information about Cobb County Community Services Board, please visit www.cobbcsb.com. You can find the family support application and guidelines at https://dbhdd.georgia.gov/family-support-services. For specific information about the CCCSB’s Family Supports Program, please contact Rae McGinnis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-434-7911, ext. 1635.