DePaul seeks Sponsored Home Providers

DePaul Community Resources announced the launch of a new campaign that seeks to identify homes for people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities following the closure of Virginia’s third training center. The closures are the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Justice into the treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities.

DePaul’s Campaign, “Embracing Everyday Life,” is aimed at recruiting new “Sponsored Home Providers.” This program carefully matches youth and adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities with DePaul certified homes, ensuring better outcomes and compassionate care in a home-based setting.

In 2012, after being found guilty of violating federal law of needlessly using restraints and warehousing developmentally and/or intellectually disabled people in institutions, Virginia entered into a 10-year, $2 billion settlement with the Department of Justice. The agreement outlined the closing of four of Virginia’s five training centers that provided housing for the developmentally and/or intellectually disabled and stipulated the transition of those services to the community. The Southwest Virginia Training Center, which closed this past June, was the third facility to close. The fourth facility, the Central Virginia Training Center located in Lynchburg, is set to close in 2020.

Prior to those closures, there were more than 1,000 people housed in the five facilities. Only 75 open beds will remain at Southeastern Virginia Training Center in Chesapeake. As a result, the need is greater than ever to identify safe and loving home providers who are trained and approved to deliver support to individuals based on their specific needs, including 24-hour supervision, personal care, physical assistance, and life skills development.

“The closure of training centers across the Commonwealth of Virginia has multiple impacts on the community, and more importantly on the individuals being placed in the community,” said Amber Wieringo, Director of Residential Services at DePaul. “At the Virginia training centers, care was inclusive and provided onsite ranging from dentistry and psychiatry to activities of daily living. Meaning, rarely did these individuals go into the community and rarely did the community interact with these individuals. Per the DOJ settlement, all individuals previously institutionalized in one of the four training centers must now live in the community and have an integrated life. It’s important that the community is ready and willing to accept this population and ensure that they are living the most meaningful and integrated life possible.”

The Department of Justice found that supporting people to live in non-institutional settings provides an enhanced quality of life at a lower cost than institutionalization. The average cost to institutionalize an individual with this type of disability is approximately $194,000 per year as compared to $74,000 per year to provide individual residence in a community setting (like sponsored or group homes).

Sponsored residential providers offer person-centered care that engages children and adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities as part of a family, rather than within the walls of an institution. The process to becoming a sponsored residential provider is thorough and ensures that everyone involved can live their best lives: both the children and adults being served and prospective caregivers.

To learn more about DePaul Community Resources or to inquire about its Sponsored Residential services, visit www.depaulcr.org.