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New Futures Initiative: A Summary

Thursday. December 17th, 2015

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week!

Today, we would like to talk a little bit about one of the most important steps to joining ILO and becoming a participating family: the Center for Independent Futures® New Futures Initiative training process. Those of you that have already taken a browse around our website will know that this training process is an essential and integral first step towards creating integrated communities for your family member with special needs; in this post, we will fill you in on exactly what New Futures Initiative training is, what it teaches, and what it means to undergo this training as a participating family.

If you are interested in learning more about this process, please read on!

New Futures Initiative Training: What is it?

The New Futures Initiative training program was designed and developed by Center for Independent Futures®, and is intended to help families open doors to community-based, supported, independent living options within one’s own neighborhood. The program guides participants through the steps necessary to create community and independent living options, and focuses on Center for Independent Futures core values community, choice, assessment, person-centered planning, family, etc. Note: To learn more about Center for Independent Futures®, please visit their website.

All ILO participating families are required to take the New Futures Initiative training the families that take this training together form a core group, and work together in an innovative partnership to create full life futures for their self-advocates. It is through the New Futures Initiative training process that ILO participating families learn about intentional community development, community partnerships, organizing community, and much, much more. In a nutshell, the New Futures Initiative training program gives ILO participating families a step-by-step process to help their self-advocates achieve independent living, with the necessary supports to create a future based on Center for Independent Futures® Full Life Model.

New Futures Initiativeâ„¢ Training: What does it entail?

The New Futures Initiative training gives participating families of ILO a step-by-step process to help their self-advocates move from their family homes into their own home with the necessary supports to create a Full Life Center for Independent Futures® uses a four-step approach, titled, Path to Community Living Options in this training. This approach is broken down into two stages, days 1 & 2 which typically takes place at Center for Independent Futures® headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and days 3 & 4, which takes place in the community that is being created (in our case, Washington, D.C. and Maryland).

Days 1 & 2

Days 1 & 2 of the training process take place in Evanston, Illinois; Day 1 focuses on the very first step to creating communities for adults with special needs Beginning the Journey. In this portion of the training, participating families are introduced to the Center for Independent Futures organization and staff, as well as the organization’s philosophy. Participating families are introduced to the concept of planning – including the elements of the plan – and are guided through how to plan for individuals, families, and organizations. New Futures Initiative trainers introduce intentional communities to participating families, including how these communities represent a paradigm shift within housing for individuals with disability and how community involvement can benefit our young adults with special needs. Residential options are also discussed, including housing alternatives, ownership, legal structures, etc. The day closes with a dinner with the families and participants.

During day 2, the training centers on Step 2: Taking Action. After briefly revisiting the material presented on the first day, participants are guided through a discussion of independent living readiness and are introduced to Center for Independent Futures® Full Life Futures Process Skills Inventory (previously known as the IRLI). A discussion of acquiring Community Living Option housing then takes place, followed by a visit to a Community Living Option residence for a first-hand look at the way Center for Independent Futures self-advocates and their families are building Full Life Futures in supported communities. The afternoon session of day 2 consists of a review of the financial commitments, responsibilities, and structures required for creating community, followed by a review of what has been covered and a discussion of the next steps in the process.

Days 3 & 4

The second half of the training process typically takes place a few months after phase I has been completed. During this phase, Center for Independent Futures® certified trainers travel to the area in which the community is being developed (in the case of ILO, Washington, D.C. and/or Montgomery County, Maryland.) This phase also consists of two daylong workshops focusing on the last two steps, Moving Ahead and Opening Your Doors. During the Moving Ahead, participants are introduced to the Center for Independent Futures® Support Model. A discussion of the housing financial options follows the support model, as well as a review of the communities that are a part of ILO’s support network (currently Germantown, MD and soon Washington DC). The afternoon portion of this session involves information on funding independent living options, as well as a discussion of Support Criteria, and questions for support partners. Day 3’s workshop also includes a presentation from service providers or professionals that ILO (or the individuals taking part in the training) has partnered with.

Day 4 of the training, Opening Doors, is the final session for the New Futures Initiative program. Throughout this last day, all discussions focus on the last steps involved in helping your self-advocate achieve independent living: the individual and family transitioning process plays a large role in the discussion, including how the self-advocate should be introduced to his or her new home. Community asset mapping, i.e. identifying and planning for community partners is discussed, with families encouraged to complete their own asset map. Finances, an essential part of any independent living option, are touched on, i.e. family vs. individuals budgeting, long term financial supports, fundraising, etc. The last day of the training wraps up with acknowledgements of what has been achieved, questions about the process, and plans for the next step in the process.

Would You Like More Information?

If you are interested in ILO and the New Futures Initiative training program, please visit Center for Independent Futures® website at www.independentfutures.com, or contact us. We would love the opportunity to discuss with you how creating intentional, inclusive communities can help your young adults with disabilities life full lives, supported by and integrated into the community. At ILO, it is our goal to help you create and facilitate the networks of support for your young adults with special needs that will support them now as they build independent lives and in the future.

Thanks for stopping by today and don’t forget to visit us again next week!

Note: Center for Independent Futures® name and trademarks are used with permission.




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