This is outrageous. First of all, there are no competent staff flexible enough to work with us. For our son Joshua, we need someone who can work 6:30 am to 9 am, go home, and then come back at 2:00 pm because our son is still in school. Furthermore, due to the staff having fixed schedules, they cannot accommodate us whenever Joshua has to miss school because of his poor mental state. We are left a team home with no help, if they were ever a help at all. This staffed agency does not work for families with children going to school, it only works for the elderly.
Second of all, when they do send staff, they have no experience with handling mentally ill individuals. Since my son is non verbal, the staff can't understand what he needs. As a result, they only escalate his frustration, triggering his aggression and self injurious behaviors. My son has bitten staff several times, causing a danger to both the staff and himself. Because of this, I constantly have to be at home to watch the staff and Joshua in case I need to intervene. Not only that, but we ourselves have to train the staff with how to deal with Joshua, and oftentimes, the staff quit after only a few weeks. We are left with no staff for months as the agency tries to find a new staff, and we are constantly cycling through staff. This lack of consistency is detrimental for Joshua's development with people coming and leaving all the time.
Third of all, the agency policy is that staff cannot drive and take the children outside to play or socialize. This means that in the summer, I have to always be there to drive the both of them if we want to go anywhere. This program doesn't even take the stress off our shoulders. The alternative to driving around all day and chaperoning an inexperienced stranger with Joshua is to let Joshua rot away inside with the staff every day. They do not play with him, and he is subjected to listlessly sitting on the sofa all summer. Although this program's purpose is to give the parents a break from childcare, it does the exact opposite. Instead, it chains us inside the home for the entire summer. In all, this program does not work during the school year nor in the summer.
The only solution fit for families like mine is to continue the paid parents and consumer directed option for underaged children. Ever since we switched away from the staffed agency and became paid parents, our lives have been significantly bettered. Joshua has never been happier; his quality of life has tremendously improved because we are able to give him the best care, any time and any place. By paying the parents as attendants, we are relieved of the stress of finding another source of income to support our son, which we wouldn't even be able to do with the staffed agency anyways because we would have to be at home to chaperone all the time. Ultimately, we strongly believe that you should continue the program with parents as the paid attendants through the consumer directed option. I cannot foresee a future where we have to accept these unqualified strangers into our home and watch Joshua begin to self injure again. The paid parents through the consumer direct option is the best thing to have happened for Joshua's health and our family as a whole. I beg of you, as parents of your own, PLEASE do not end this option.