What is SLS and how is it different from group homes?
SLS is an acronym for “Supported Living Services”. Individuals living in SLS generally live by themselves (or with a roommate) in their own homes or apartments where they hold their own lease. In SLS an individual will never have more than two roommates. In this style of living, support staff go to the person’s home to work with them on life skills and help them to live independently. Support hours range anywhere from 20 hours per month to 24/7, depending on the individual’s needs. Group homes or ARF’s (adult residential facilities), on the other hand, are licensed homes generally owned by the provider where 4 to 6 people live in the home together.
What are the qualifications you take into account when hiring?
All PCS support staff are required to a pass a drug test and comprehensive background check which is cleared through the Department of Justice, FBI, and the Abuse Index. We look for people who have experience working with people with developmental disabilities. All employees must speak English and be US citizens.
Are you able to transport individuals served?
PCS will transport the individuals we serve, depending on a few factors. All individuals who live in one of our licensed residential programs will receive transportation in our company vans. Individuals living in SLS or ILS will receive training to familiarize them with transportation services available to them by the local county and/or regional center. Support staff who have gone through the proper protocol with Human Resources to become approved drivers are available to use their own cars to transport individuals when necessary. This is only used as a last resort when other transportation methods are not available.
Who is eligible for services?
Any individual with a developmental disability who is a client of the Regional Center is eligible for PCS services. If you or your loved one is not a client of your local Regional Center and think that you may be eligible for services, please contact your local regional center. There are 21 regional centers in California, to find the one nearest you go to http://www.dds.ca.gov/RC/RCList.cfm.
How does PCS ensure quality services?
We believe that quality services are something that is delivered everyday by everyone at PCS. We try hard to influence a culture of quality at all levels. However, we do appreciate the need for traditional hierarchical supervision. Our infrastructure is designed to maximize the managerial oversight of our programs. Unannounced visits are regularly conducted by regional and program managers. Recently, in 2009, the state of California cut DDS funding resulting in less audits of providers who serve the developmental disability population. Less oversight and less quality for the people we serve is unacceptable to PCS, therefore, we decided to pick up the slack so to speak and increase our audits and always strive toward increasing quality.
How many individuals served do you serve in a particular area?
We are currently providing a variety of support services in 4 different areas of California. Our North Los Angeles Region is supporting 24 individuals in Supported Living and Adult Residential homes. Antelope Valley supports 11 individuals in Supported Living. The services in our Santa Barbara region support 44 people through our Supported Living, Alternative to Day Services and Independent Living programs. Our largest support area is Ventura County where we are supporting 94 people in Supported Living, Independent Living, Behavior Modification program and Alternative to Day Services programs.
What is you management structure like?
Infrastructure depends on the program. In SLS we have program managers that oversee personal attendants I & II. Regional Managers and/or SLS coordinators oversee the program managers. Regional Managers report to the Director of Residential services who reports directly to the Vice President of Operations. In licensed residential programs the program managers report to the Administrator who reports to the Director of Residential Services. All day services report to the Director of Day Services.
What experience does PCS have with challenging individuals?
PCS is unique in that we have had tremendous success with “difficult to serve” individuals. We have successfully moved over 20 people into the community from State Hospitals. Additionally PCS has successfully served people who, when they came to us, were in jeopardy of moving into a developmental centers. These individuals are often referred to as “deflections” because they were deflected or prevented from having to go to a Developmental Center.
How do you find housing for people?
Depending on the area housing in SLS can be challenging. We encourage all people thinking of moving into their own home at some point to apply for Section 8 housing assistance. Many waiting lists can be 2 to 7 years long so it is recommended that people apply when they turn 18.
What activities do you offer?
PCS focuses on connecting supported individuals with activities throughout the community. Being part of a community and a neighborhood is important to people so accessing community functions, interest groups, and clubs is a great way to promote inclusion while also educating the community about people with disabilities. We also coordinate several inter agency activities to support socialization, learning and friendships. Such activities include barbecues, dances, karaoke nights, holiday parties, skills workshops, and sporting events.
How do you find an appropriate housemate?
Several individuals who choose supported living services decide they would like to live with a housemate for social and financial reasons. PCS supports the choice for people to have shared housing and provide person centered approach to finding suitable companions.