Bet Tzedek offers a variety of specialized programs and services for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families and caregivers.
For more than two decades, Bet Tzedek’s Family Caregiver Project (FCP) has helped adults who provide in-home care for a family member afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). FCP provides direct legal services to caregivers and their families, and conducts community education in multiple languages for service providers and caregivers on an array of issues, including conservatorships, public benefits, and health issues of the elderly. Bet Tzedek’s attorneys, paralegals and social worker remain up-to-date on current issues and policies in the field, participating in national and international conferences on the subject of disability rights, such as the American Society on Aging, the FRED Conference (Farms and Ranches Enabling people with Disabilities) and the World Congress on Adult Guardianships. They have received numerous awards and have supported legislation promoting self-determination. The FCP Directing Attorney, Janet Morris, serves on the California Olmstead Advisory Committee.
In 2010, Bet Tzedek launched the Family Matters Program in response to the lack of community awareness regarding the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities when they attain majority age. The Family Matters program was designed to help families be proactive rather than reactive. The Family Matters Program educates and empowers impacted individuals and their families through the transition from childhood to adulthood. Direct legal services are offered in the areas of: Durable Power of Attorney; Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Limited Conservatorship.
In 2011, the FCP sought to expand, deepen, and address emerging needs for adults with I/DD and their family caregivers through the creation of the Transitions Program. The Transitions Program was launched with a grant from UniHealth Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area. The Transitions Program provides services to adults with I/DD and their families as they transition from mid-life into older adulthood. Using a multi-faceted approach that employs direct services, educational outreach, and the creation of a multi-disciplinary coalition of service providers, adults with I/DD and their caregivers are empowered with tools that allow them to maintain the highest degree of physical, mental, and emotional well-being as well as independence as they age.
The Transitions Program consists of:
(1) Direct Services: Ensures adults with I/DD and their family caregivers have access to services that address the following needs: Conservatorships, Planning documents (Powers of Attorney, Durable Powers of Attorney for Healthcare, Wills), Public Benefits (IHSS, SSI, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Regional Center), and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse.
(2) The Transitions Coalition: The Transitions Coalition was established to bridge gaps in communication, overcome barriers to service, and collectively identify solutions to problems impacting the aging I/DD community. It includes representatives from 42 public and non-profit agencies serving the I/DD and aging communities. Coalition members meet regularly to discuss issues and to facilitate partnerships and referrals.
(3) Education and Outreach: Transitions staff conduct extensive educational outreach, trainings, and presentations to adults with I/DD, caregivers, and service providers on legal, financial, and future planning issues affecting I/DD individuals. All trainings are supplemented by publications and educational materials developed by Bet Tzedek. The Transitions program sponsored major community conferences in 2012 and 2013, bringing together the worlds of aging and disability rights to discuss current issues and trends and to educate and inform family members and professionals in the field.
For more information, please visit the Transitions Program website: http://www.bettzedektransitionsproject.org/