New Specialty AFH Contract from the Developmental Disabilities Administration

On August 7, 2023, the Adult Family Home Council and the State of Washington entered into an agreement to launch a pilot program.  The program will support adult family homes who are exclusively serving residents with developmental or intellectual disabilities (DD/ID).

Advocates for the DD/ID community have been working toward this goal for nearly 10 years. We recognize that the care needs and support for a younger DD/ID population is very different than the needs of many of our elderly residents. With the support of advocates, lawmakers, and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) soon we will be launching this pilot program. 

The pilot program will run through at least June of 2025.  The legislature limited the size of the program to 100 residents. DDA will be responsible for implementing the program and providing a report to the legislature about  the overall impact of the program. 

The program will ask the AFH operator to work with qualified residents to establish and document goals.  Then support, monitor and evaluate the resident’s progress toward those goals.   Additionally, the AFH operator and staff will need to participate in DDA provided training on contract expectations, person centered services, and managing behavioral challenges. Other requirements include most of the continuing education being related to DD/ID issues and reporting paperwork to DDA. Homes participating in the program will be compensated at a rate of $2500 per month (in addition to the base daily rate) for each qualified resident.

The final agreement has been signed and now the contract is working its way through DSHS’ bureaucracy. Once finalized, DDA will begin contacting AFHs about how they can participate in the pilot program.   

Thank you to all the advocates and members who supported this effort.  We look forward to seeing these advocacy efforts help us to actualize our mission of improving the lives of vulnerable adults.

9 Responses

  1. My concern is that “goals” ends up defining “progress” and progress can mean “normalcy”, so that we are unrealistically expecting those with special needs to show the same progression that others show, though maybe somewhat slower. They are not on their own for a reason, and most will never “get there”. That said, I do believe that it is just as bad a mistake to think that those with special needs cannot change and grow- often just in ways we can’t know or predict. Can give many examples. So how does the unexpected get measured? Thanks.

    1. Great point Carl.
      Many of the advocates involved share your concern. We are still waiting for details from DDA about the final program design/requirements. When DDA makes their announcement, I encourage you to share these concerns with them.

    2. Hi Carl, most the goals I write are driven towards things they could obtained. All goals are to be measurable and attainable. And of course, person centered. Sometimes where they get is just where they get and that determines the success.

  2. I would echo Carl’s concern. My recent dealings with DDA sort of leave me wondering how much exposure they have to folks with DD, and what their expectations are. We have a younger population than most AFH’s, but our population also has higher rates of dementia in their 40’s, which means that we are constantly pivoting as we address the needs of our guys who prematurely age.

  3. I am interested in hearing more about what this might look like and what the expectations are of said “goals” and the requirements will look like. I hope there will be a webinar explaining everything before we jump into the program. Also i am curious if once enrolled if the program is not working for the resident(s) can we opt out or is it something that has to be completed for the entire program duration. I look forward to learning more and what that might look like. My entire home is DD/ID residents. Thank you for your continued support with AFHs in Washington and all your hard work to help keep us going.

  4. We took care of a gentleman that had Huntington’s. It wasn’t technically DD, since his symptoms didn’t show before he was 18 yrs old. But he was much younger than my normal population. He was in his mid 40s when he moved in and early 50s when he passed away.
    Huntington’s is a rare genetic disease that children of parent with Huntington’s have a 50/50 chance of acquiring the disease.
    The family is a proponent of spreading awareness of the disease. There is no cure & the gentleman I took care of had 6 months to a year prognosis when he moved in. We were worried about how he would fit in with the rest of the residents. When he moved in he was walking, 6’2″ 220lbs. He lived with us for 6-1/2 years. But he was in a decline the whole time. It is a degenerative disease.
    To our surprise, he was a great fit with our group. So I think it’s not always obvious or a problem that there is a big age difference.

    Furthermore, this year we admitted a lady that was Early 80’s. A typical age. She was wheelchair bound, Needed to be transferred, Had hallucinations, & Delusions. After a month and a half or so, She improved to the point of where she could walk short distances w/o a walker. No more hallucinations or delusions, & was IMO about 95% to 98%. Where before she was at about 20%. Ended up moving out to be more independent after 4 months.

    What I’m trying to say is that sometimes people fit together better than what you would think ( kind of like how thicker liquids are easier to swallow).. It’s really a case by case basis.

    The elderly aren’t always in a constant decline. I would say mostly they are a roller coaster. Ups and downs. That same gentleman with Huntington’s went on and off hospice multiple times. As have other residents that were elderly.

    That’s my 2 cents. & Yes I know that maybe my examples might not be the norm. But it does happen.

  5. Hello, I am super excited and can’t wait for my license in hopes of being chosen to participate in this program. I have been supporting DD clients for 13 years. Writing person centered plans. PBSP’s goals and now teaching and training new staff! This is an amazing opportunity for our DD community.

  6. I am very interested in this opportunity to get the information out there to those who do not live around people with DD.

    My 6 ladies with DD ages 24 to 70 have all progressively gotten healthier and out in the community, some up to 6 days per week. They have so much potential! All with the ups and downs of trial and error.

    It is a roller coaster ride getting there with health and behavioral issues and the information needs to get out there on how to help them improve when possible:). And sometimes it’s just giving them a good quality of life when their health and behaviors are at a stand still.

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