The Transition to Supported Living Realizing the Moment and Moving On
Report of an Evaluation of Supported Living Services at Jay Nolan Community Services
John O’Brien (Team Leader & Reporter), Wade Hitzing, Martha Leary, Connie Saverino, Mary Ellen Sousa
This evaluation was invited by the board and staff of Jay Nolan Community Services (JNCS) as part of their commitment to offer high quality supports to the people and families who rely on them. Team members share a commitment to the values and service practices JNCS has embraced, and balance experience in specialist service to people with autism with experience in developing and delivering supported living services.
Three team members have previously been involved with the JNCS. Connie Saverino co-led the 1992 agency evaluation and recently led a retreat for the agency board. John O’Brien has been an occasional consultant since 1993, and Wade Hitzing has visited once.
The team focused on learning from 16 people, 15 of whom receive 24 hour support from JNCS. These people were selected by JNCS’s managers to allow team members to visit people in a cross section of situations. We met each person, visited their homes and usually the places where they spend the day, interviewed family members and other members of their circles of support, talked with some present and past staff members, and often attended a circle meeting. In addition, we met with the administrative team, the community living committee, and the board.
We conducted open ended interviews with each of the people and groups we saw. Our questions focused on perceptions of people’s present and future situations and concerns about the quality of the support JNCS offers. Mainly, this report assesses what people told us. As we worked, we kept in mind a set of questions and hypotheses generated by the JNCS administrative team. (See Appendix.) In particular, those of us with a special interest in autism considered the possibilities for improvement in the way JNCS staff assist people with communication and behavioral difficulties.
This report represents the team’s reflections on the information we gathered. We presented our observations and conclusions in two feedback meetings, which were attended by some of the people JNCS serves, family members and friends, board members, and staff. This report incorporates corrections and comments made at those meetings.