If you feel called to serve those with disabilities, becoming a Shared Living Provider will allow you to form empowering relationships and provide support in a transformative way.
Our Shared Living program, formerly known as Extended Family Homes, offers a chance for individuals, couples and/or families to open their home to clients who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. With this program, not only do clients have a safe, family environment in which to live, they have the support to gain important social and life skills in order to live more independently.
The clients utilizing Shared Living services can be young children, teens and adults. They may have supportive biological families who aren’t able to meet their mental health needs, or they may simply choose to live outside of the home to gain independent living experience. Additionally, some children and teens might be in the child welfare system and need to live in a home that can provide support for their medical, physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
This article will provide an overview of the different steps required in becoming a Shared Living Provider in Nebraska.
Provide a home where people with disabilities can learn social and independent living skills. Learn more about becoming a Shared Living Provider!
Check if you are eligible
The basic requirements to become a Shared Living Provider are: being 21 years old, having a valid driver’s license and/or reliable transportation. Aside from these qualifications, it doesn’t matter if you’re married, unmarried, single, a parent, childless, a homeowner or a renter… all are welcome to become Shared Living Providers.
At the most basic level, Shared Living Providers give shelter and transportation to their clients. So, you must have an open bedroom and the ability to get your client to routine appointments. Typically clients have their own belongings and furniture.
Beyond accommodations for your client, you provide them with support and relationships. So, your background check and criminal history are important parts of your eligibility. While a criminal history won’t necessarily disqualify you as a provider, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will be the one to make that determination. However, if you have any convictions of felonies involving abuse or neglect of a spouse or child, any crime against children, or any violent crime, you are not eligible to become a Shared Living Provider.
Aside from practical eligibility, consider why you want to be a Shared Living Provider. Having experience working with individuals with disabilities, or particularly enjoying and having patience with those who need extra support and kindness, are the personal qualifications that will make you a great provider.
One of our Shared Living Supervisors, Michaela Breault suggests people considering becoming a Shared Living Provider “[be] open and willing to accept clients from all backgrounds and with all ranges of abilities. Each client has something unique to offer.”
If you genuinely care for these individuals and their well-being and are willing to serve them in such a hands-on way, you would probably be a great Shared Living Provider!
Step 1: Set up a Meeting and Provide Information
The first step to becoming a Shared Living Provider is to contact us for more information and to provide information about yourself. This online form asks practical information about your identity but also begins to help us learn about your experiences with those with disabilities. This form will help you set up a meeting with a KVC Shared Living Program Support Specialist.
The specialist will also ask you to provide more necessary information to get the ball rolling, including:
- Screening form
- Background checks (for you and anyone else living in your household)
- Copy of your driver’s license
- Direct deposit form & account information
- W-9 form
- List of references
- Copy of current car insurance
- Copy of your homeowner or renter’s insurance
Step 2: Training Classes
Arguably, the most important step on your journey to becoming a Shared Living Provider are the training classes. These ensure you have the appropriate tools and knowledge to be a successful provider. After you submit all the initial paperwork, we will provide you with a binder that includes:
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regulations
- KVC Guidebook (Policies & Procedures)
- Incident reporting information
- PowerPoint trainings and quizzes
Some quizzes are taken online and you must pass them with a 100% score in order to move on. Also during this step, you will complete your official training as mandated by the state of Nebraska. Nebraska mandates that all providers complete MANDT training, Medication Aide Training, and CPR and First Aid training. We offer all of the state-mandated trainings at no cost to KVC Shared Living Providers.
MANDT is a two-day training that teaches providers how to build relationships and de-escalate crisis situations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of our training classes are virtual. Check our Events calendar to see upcoming trainings.
Step 3: Home Visit & Reference Checks
Home visits (or “walkthroughs” or “interviews”) are conducted after all trainings have been completed. A KVC Licensing Specialist will visit your home and make sure that the environment will work for clients. They will also note any limitations or strengths you, as a provider, will bring into serving your client.
KVC will also call the references you provide. These important discussions not only help us make sure you will be a good provider but also learn more about you. Just as you support and assist your client, KVC will support and assist you.
Step 4: Certification & getting matched with a client
Once you have completed all the necessary training and your background and home checks have been completed, you will be certified to be a Shared Living Provider! The timeline varies on your own diligence in getting through the process, in addition to the availability of training classes and specialists to work with you.
Once you’re certified, you will be able to welcome a client into your home. The timeframe of getting matched with a client varies. It depends on your abilities and what you can provide a client, what clients need, and the volume of clients seeking providers. Things like location and handicap accessibility of your home are also factors. Your personal experience and skills make a difference, too.
Because clients often stay with their Shared Living Providers long-term, we make sure they’re matched with the right provider. It’s a mutual selection process and often requires multiple meetings between the client and the provider.
The support Shared Living Providers get from KVC
Throughout the licensing process and after, we’re here to answer any questions you have, talk you through the process and facilitate training. We also offer providers:
- 24/7 on-call crisis support
- Weekly contact with a KVC Shared Living specialist
- Individual assessments
- Habilitation and/or behavioral goals development and support
- Respite assistance
We share a commitment with all of our Shared Living Providers to provide the highest quality of care for the clients we serve.
Reach out to KVC!
If you live in Nebraska and want to become a Shared Living Provider, we would love to hear from you!
We have a dedicated staff and offer 24/7 support for you as a provider. Contact us today for more information! Whether it’s calling us up at (402) 498-4700 or filling out a form, we would love to hear from you and answer your questions.