Friday, May 25, 2018
Shared from M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC.
M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC is a business that focuses on helping individuals with disabilities build successful, independent, inclusive futures. Our services help families prepare for all aspects of their special needs journey, including preparing for financial milestones, navigating the complicated world of government benefits, transitioning, and eventually independent living.
As parents of children with disabilities and professionals in the disability community, we are in the unique position of being able to view issues from both sides of the coin. It is our experience as parents that inspires us to prioritize empathy when delivering our services; it is our expertise as financial planners that allows us to guide families towards a successful future.
The most important aspect of planning is providing our clients with the ability to make informed decisions – and, a necessary part of informed decision making is information. With this in mind, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss a recent report titled Opportunities for Improving Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities. This report provides valuable insight as to the state of children’s services in the US.
Opportunities for Improving Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities was prepared by “an interdisciplinary team of experts,” with the intent of “assess[ing] the benefits of programs and services for children with disabilities and to identify opportunities to improve service delivery.” Commissioned by the Social Services Administration (SSA), its purpose was to examine services and supports for children with disabilities across a “variety of domains – including healthcare, education and employment,” with the intention of providing a comprehensive overview of these efficacy of these supports and services, as well as strengths, weaknesses, and ways to improve overall service delivery.
Researchers were asked to look at 1.) characteristics that contributed to the effectiveness of these programs 2.) identify gaps and limitations of these programs and 3.) provide findings and conclusions that can inform decisions about SSA involvement and future research to improve health and future outcomes of children that receive SSI benefits. Researchers were also asked to look at service delivery and identify the “programs and policies that support delivery of effective treatments and social and educational interventions.”
After examining all of the different services and programs, the researches behind this report arrived at 12 main conclusions. To go into each conclusion in detail is beyond the scope of this blog (please follow this link to read the summary and conclusions in full). We would like to briefly touch on some main points, however:
- Children with disabilities need access to a wide range of services and supports; the effectiveness of these services and supports are determined by a number of characteristics, i.e. whether the service/support engages children and families in care, whether the services/support has been individualized, if the service or support has effective outreach strategies, etc.
- Although a wide variety of services and supports does exist, there still remain gaps and limitations that create barriers. These include (but are not limited to) socio-demographic/economic and geographic disparities, insufficient workforce, limited and inaccessible information, etc.
- Success in delivering programs can be influenced by cooperation between agencies, parents and children, healthcare providers, schools, etc. When all parties “strive to create working alliances” the result is “increased opportunities for ensuring children’s health and encouraging their positive growth and development.”
As mentioned, the report itself provides a much more detailed analysis of the above three points, as well as 9 other conclusions; of these 9 addition conclusions, three were related to the need to provide better, more streamlined, and more comprehensive access to information regarding availability, accessibility and eligibility of supports and services for children with disabilities.
How M&L Can Help Your Family
Parents of children who are diagnosed with a disability are often overwhelmed emotionally, mentally, and financially. Every parent wants the best for their child. Figuring out what “the best” is, however, (and how to achieve it) can be challenging. And, as we have seen from the above report, navigating the tricky world of services for children with disabilities is a job within itself.
At M&L, we offer many services that help families alleviate the pressure and stress of raising children with disabilities. Our most popular service is our Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plan, an individualized life plan for the whole family. This plan takes into account the family as a whole, while focusing specifically on the individual with special needs. It with enable you to identify private and public resources available now and in the future, and outlines the various steps, financial, legal, and other, that ae necessary to secure a stable, financial future for your family.
We also offer Insurance Needs Analysis Planning, Government Benefit Counseling, and Consulting services. Finally, under our Speaking Engagements umbrella is our Workshop Series. We have produced a number of different workshops on a variety of topics that are intended to help families navigate the challenging phases of their special needs journey. Workshop topics include SSI and SSDI, Transitioning, Housing, etc. For more information on our services in general, please follow this link. To inquire/schedule a workshop, please contact us.