For individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, completing everyday tasks such as managing personal hygiene, paying bills and overcoming physical restrictions can make living independently a struggle. Extended family homes (EFH) are wonderful resources that give these individuals the opportunity to live independently with additional support to meet goals and develop life skills. EFH’s can assist with medication management, transportation and helping the individual to meet their goals.
We recently sat down for a conversation with EFH Recruitment Coordinator Monica Miller to address the commonly asked questions people have about becoming an extended family home and learn more about the process. Check out her answers below:
Q: Who are in extended family homes?
Monica Miller: The individuals can be young children, teens, and even adults. They can have supportive biological families, but they might not be able to meet their mental health needs, or they may simply choose to live outside of the home. Some individuals might be involved in the child welfare system and need to live in a home that can provide support for their medical, physical or intellectual disabilities.
These individuals apply through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and work will all state providers to find an extended family home.
Q: Who can be an extended family home?
Miller: Any adult that is willing to support an individual can become an extended family home. We make sure you can provide a safe and loving home, meet all of the state requirements and have the training that will help you support the individual’s specific needs.
Q: What is the process like?
Miller: There are a few steps;
Step 1: Meet with a Recruitment Coordinator
The process to become an EFH starts with contacting & meeting with me or another KVC Nebraska Recruitment Coordinator. We will help you with paperwork that includes:
- EFH Screening Form
- Background Check Forms
- Reference Lists
- Other documentation required by the state
Step 2: Training
We do require you to complete training that can take up to 10 weeks to complete which consists of online and in-person formal training. KVC Nebraska EFH specialists support you along the entire way through training and throughout when an individual is in your home. The required training includes:
- Health and Human Services Regulation
- KVC Policy & Procedures
- Incident Reporting Information
- Medication Aide Licensure
- CPR/First Aid
- MANDT (Crisis De-escalation)
Step 3: Walk-Through & Interview
Once all training is complete, a KVC Licensing Specialist will visit your home to conduct a walk-through and interview to better assess your strengths, limitations, physical environment, experience, knowledge of the client population, and support needs.
Step 4: Placement
Once you’re an approved certified extended family home, an individual can be placed in your home anywhere from 2 months up to 1 year later.
The placement process varies for each person. Much of the determination for placement is based on the individual’s supervision, support, and habilitation needs and the experience, skills, ability, and willingness of your home to provide what’s needed. Other factors that often influence placements are guardian specifications, home location, medical needs, the need for handicap accessible housing and other factors.
Because individuals often stay with extended family homes for years and even for their entire life, we want to make sure that the individual matches with the right provider. It’s a mutual selection process and often requires multiple meetings between the individual and the extended family home.
Q: How does KVC support extended family homes?
Miller: Throughout the licensing process, we answer questions, talk you through the process and train all extended family homes. We also provide extended family homes with:
- 24/7 on-call crisis support
- Weekly contact with KVC EFH specialist
- Individual assessments
- Habilitation and/or behavioral goals development and support
- Respite assistance
We share a commitment to all extended family homes to provide the highest quality of care for the individuals in their care.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone interested in becoming an extended family home?
Miller: I’d say apply! Extended family homes come in all shapes and sizes; as single parents, married couples without children, homeowners or renters. All kinds of people can provide the love and care that these individuals need.
I’d also suggest being open to helping people with all types of needs, as we care for individuals that express a variety of behaviors. All of them need support and maybe you can provide that for them.