Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sinergia’s Healthy Families Collaborative: A Team Approach to Service Delivery


Sinergia’s Healthy Families Collaborative has been moving towards a comprehensive team approach to assist parents with developmental disabilities, which involves bringing together many experts from a wide variety of areas. There is the Intake specialist, nurses, Family Support staff, Medicaid Service Coordination, home visitation by special educator and infant teacher, Program Coordinator and administrative staff. Parents with developmental disabilities need much support if they are to become the parents they hope to be and secure the myriad of services that will help them reach their goals. In this approach the nurses make an assessment of the medical needs, the educator and family support staff make home visits, and the entire team works in a person-centered manner to find individual solutions and services to help the consumer to become a more effective, nurturing parent as well as to meet their own individual needs. It really does take a village in the form of a very committed team to help parents with developmental disabilities to develop a circle of support and find the services they need.

Case in point is that of a 15 year old female with developmental disabilities and her infant. They reside with her mother, who found herself as their sole support system. As a result of the pregnancy, she dropped out of a special education high school. After various meetings and home visits, team members were able to convince her that it was important for her to return to the last school placement although she wished to attend a “regular” school.  Today is her first day of school and we are now helping her in the process of registering the infant in a NYC/DOE day care program in the neighborhood where they live. This will allow the grandmother to return to work or receive training to prepare her for alternative job opportunities. The team’s commitment and caring fostered a trusting relationship between its members and the family. This allowed for the development of a circle of services and supports that includes family members, the principal, the teacher, and the health and day care services in the neighborhood in which she lives. Without the trust, hard work and belief that this young mother could succeed, she would remain home without an education or the prospects of a better future for her and her daughter.  Her mother would be overwhelmed and frustrated without the time or outlets for her own betterment.

The team will continue to offer parent training and visits to the home to assist and monitor the infant’s and the mother’s progress as well as connect them to needed services. A beautiful handmade quilt made by parents hangs in one of Sinergia’s offices and on it is embroidered, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”.  This particular case is a living example of that axiom.

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