Consultants urged policy-makers to do what other counties do and contract with nonprofit agencies, like Independent Disability Services, Inc. (IDS), to provide in-home supports that would assist these individuals to reach their dream of living a full and meaningful life.
IDS has a rich history as one of the first home and community-based providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Rock County.
In the early 1980s, IDS was awarded a Major Projects Grant from the Elks Club-State of Wisconsin. Through the grant, an Apartment Living Coordinator was hired to help adults live independently in the community. This was a very important program due to the fact that in the early 1980s, many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities were still inappropriately placed in nursing homes because families had no resources or proper equipment to care for them.
The first Apartment Living participant was a nineteen year old man, Jeff, with Cerebral Palsy. After he graduated from high school, Jeff lived in a nursing home with a 91 year old roommate. This was not a healthy or appropriate environment for such a young man. Once in the Apartment Living Program, Jeff was able to move into his own apartment and live independently with the assistance of a full-time support staff.
The 40 adults served in our Independent Living Program are able to do so from the federal legacy waivers called “Community Integration Program Waivers” (CIP). After the deinstitutionalization movement took hold in the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government began providing the CIP funded waivers to help people with developmental disabilities stay out of institutions or relocate from state centers and nursing homes back to their communities.
Through the federal Community Integration Program waiver funds, IDS is able to help our clients live productive, independent lives through services like meal planning, personal and household shopping, housekeeping and laundry, money management, health monitoring, and nutritional coaching.
Unfortunately, some of these federal waiver funds do not fund community recreation and socialization opportunities. We believe that social outings and leisure activities are a very important part of living a full, enriched life. They can alleviate stress, build relationships and promote happier and healthier lifestyles.
Many of our clients have never been out of Janesville. Many are not capable of planning a trip to a bowling alley, or the zoo, or a concert. Our clients need our help.
In 2015, it is our goal to see our clients participate in meaningful leisure activities that can help them relax, feel good about themselves, promote their mental health, and improve their quality of life.