Supporting Families is one of the five focus and priority areas for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD). Family Support services help strengthen the family’s capacity to support family member(s) who have a developmental disability both in the home and in the community. Families play an essential role in the lives of people who have developmental disabilities and in the creation of services and supports they need and utilize. Families are generally the primary source of support for many people with developmental disabilities across their life span. The Division of DD recognizes the roles families have in supporting their family member(s) to develop self-determination and to achieve a quality life.

There is an integral link between self-determination and supporting families. Understanding the link between self-determination and supporting families is critical if we are to move forward in our vision that individuals truly have control over their own lives.

The Family Resource and Autism Specialist (FRAS) is a member of the regional office’s Community Resource Team, which is located within each regional office across the state. FRASs are available to work with support (aka service) coordinators, families, regional office / division staff, and community stakeholders to promote and strengthen family support options, and to help build the families capacity to provide support to their family member(s) with a developmental disability. For more information about the FRAS or to view a current listing of FRASs at each Regional Office, click on one of the links below:

Principles of Supporting Families:

  • Honor a family’s expertise and their right to make choices that they know to be in their own best interest.
  • Respect and accept a family’s values that are based on personal preferences, cultural beliefs, and life-ways
  • Support individual and family relationships that are safe and stable and long lasting.
  • Focus on the entire family as it is defined by the family.
  • Promote flexible service and funding supporting individual and family control over who, what, when, where, and how supports are provided.
  • Affirm lifespan planning and self-determination that encourages decision-making and planning for independence beginning within the family when children are young, following the individual throughout their life and including aging issues.
  • Assure partnerships which actively include individuals and families in planning, development, implementation and evaluation of polices, practices, and personal programs.
  • Practice open communication promoting a clear understanding of all aspects of systems policy, procedure, practice and all other information regarding them.
  • Recognize the importance of the community where individuals and families belong and realize their full potential.