(This story references the Next Step meeting on 1/17/2015 about Group Homes, A Parents Perspective)
I have a son who just turned 19 who is currently at an ICF group home in Fayetteville as of April 4, 2014. As a parent the hardest thing about having your kid in a group home is feeling guilty that you are unable to care for your kid at home. So it was encouraging to hear from other parents on how their kid seemed to be more independent once they were in a group home. My husband and I chose to have Matthew is a group home because Matthew does not talk, did not walk until he was 10, is not self feeding and is not toilet trained. We were physically and emotionally exhausted to the point where were not able to handle it any more. We did not have any family or friends to support us. We did have the Innovations Waiver, which I would not have been able to work without it. And my husband ended up losing his source of income due to trying to toilet train and trying to teach Matthew how to self feed. However, Matthew started getting aggressive towards himself and others to the point where we called 911 twice last year. Matthew is on respiradol, which has helped a lot, but the Matthew’s medicines still need to be tweaked.
Granted that the ICF group home in Fayetteville may not be the perfect group home, but we were in a desperate situation. And we did look at 2 other homes, but those 2 homes did not accept Matthew.
One thing that I did learn on Saturday was that there are really good homes and really bad homes, and I think Matthew is at a home that is in between. The good thing about ICF homes are they are audited every year, so any deficiencies have to be fixed every year. The bad thing about ICF homes is that you lose the innovation slot. So basically if we decide to pull Matthew out of the group home for whatever reason, we would have to go back on the innovation waiver waiting list. Or basically quit our jobs and go on welfare.
If you have any questions, please let me know. Or if you have anyone else who has questions, please let me know.
Thanks for listening!