This blog post is by Jeff Strully, the Executive Director of Jay Nolan Community Services, Inc.
When Jay Nolan Community Services, Inc. (JNCS) was first established in 1975, we initially provided support for people with autism and other disabilities in group settings. But then in 1992, in a sign of the times, we changed our philosophy and the way we delivered services. We made the crucial decision to close our group homes and begin providing people with individualized and personalized support. Our goals were to enable them to live in their own homes, make money at jobs they enjoyed, and become fully participating members of their communities. And what a positive change it was! 20 years ago, we managed 13 group homes; today, we instead have 97 individuals living in 96 different homes of their own with varying levels of support.
Today JNCS is the leading provider of personalized support services in California, with most of its consumers concentrated in Southern California – particularlyLos Angeles, Santa Clara and surrounding counties. We are nationally recognized for offering high-quality individualized and personalized care and planning, guided by the needs and wishes of the person receiving services and his or her circle of support. Our philosophy grows out of the belief that – with the right kinds of support and assistance – individuals with disabilities can and should pursue their hopes and dreams and live their lives to the fullest potential as active members of their communities. It is an ideal of inclusion rather than exclusion and segregation.
One of our key beliefs at JNCS is that providers should not control housing, but the adult with autism and his/her family must control the lease. Therefore, if that individual fires us, then they continue to have control of their home. Person-centered work is also essential – this includes person-centered planning, person-centered support, correct and appropriate matching, listening, circles of support, and standing with people during both the easy as well as the difficult times. These are all part and parcel of what it takes to make it work. Then, the ongoing challenge is to sustain these efforts as people change, their needs change, and economic and health conditions change over time.
But most of all, it takes WILL. We need to have the will to keep going each and every day. Some days are wonderful and things seem to work out perfectly. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just don’t succeed. The best you can do is get up tomorrow, think about what went right or wrong, and then figure out what you are going to do today to make it better for the people you serve.
For more information about Jay Nolan Community Services, visit them here.
For more information about the new Autism Speaks Housing and Residential Supports Portal and tool kit, please click here.