One of the most difficult decisions a parent can make is to place their disabled child in a day support program after finishing high school. In many cases vocational programs or competitive employment placements are not the most appropriate placement due to the level of disability. I have listed five areas to consider when choosing an adult day program.
1. Transportation- Many day support programs have their own vehicles and provide transportation to and from the program. They offer a more reliable transportation than other agencies that are contracted through the state and Medicaid. Day support providers that provide their own transportation can provide more consistent service. They are less likely to be late or "no show" for pick up. They are also less likely to have a taxi cab show up for someone who needs a medical transport. They also have incentive to be on time, since the client's attendance impacts their ability to earn revenue.
2. Social Activities- Ask for a monthly calendar detailing a schedule for daily activities. Some programs are community based, which simply means that they are required to spend the majority of their time in the community. Center-based spend most of the day in the center but should still plan a variety of community activities.
3. Environment- Make sure you are comfortable with the environment. Make sure the center is clean and provide a variety of activities for your loved one. Trust your gut. Just because they meet the minimum requirements for a license doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right provider for you.
4. Staff Experience- Ask questions about the staff and how long they have been in the field. It’s your right to know as much information as possible about the staff that will be caring for your loved one. You may also inquire about how long the agency has been providing services. You may opt to use a more established agency or you may feel that a newer agency may provide better services in an effort to get more referrals.
5. Licensing Information- Make sure the program has met the proper licensing requirements for your state. Programs will either have a Conditional, Provisional, or Full license.
Conditional licenses are given to new programs. These programs are usually under a high level of scrutiny to ensure that they can comply with state regulations.
Provisional licenses are given to programs that have committed some sort of violation of state regulation and are likely under some corrective action plan.
Full licenses are granted to programs that have past all of the requirements in the conditional phase without major violations. Full licenses may be granted on an annual or triennial (every three years) basis.
*Consult your case manager for a provider list and more information on the transition process.