MARCH, Inc.’s residential programs are designed to accommodate the needs and individual wishes of men and women who have mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Residential programs are located in five towns in the Eastern and North Central regions of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services. Currently, over sixty men and women receive support through the MARCH, Inc. residential programs.
The agency owns and leases 13 houses and condominiums that are licensed as Community Living Arrangements. Support and assistance are provided to the men and women who live in each house in independent living skills and social skill development. The number of people living in each house is limited to ensure quality support services in a person’s own home community.
MARCH, Inc.’s Supported Living Programs provide regularly scheduled support to adults who rent their own house or apartment. Areas of support are individually designed according to the needs of each of the 30 people who receive assistance through a Supported Living Program.
MARCH, Inc. supports one young person through the Self Determination Model. Her needs are met according to the terms of the individually designed contract with her legal guardian.
Respite means relief – a break from the continuous physical and emotional demands of taking care of a person who requires special care. Constant care of someone who has a significant disability can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation and fatigue for everyone in the family.
Respite care provides a temporary “vacation”; the family is able to get away for business or pleasure, and the disabled family member has a change of scenery and routine. Everyone in the family can come back together refreshed and relaxed.
Respite is also an opportunity for the disabled person to gain new experiences with peers and people outside the immediate family.
Respite care can be provided on an hourly, daily, or weekend basis. The relief helps families maintain their family unit; out-of-home placement is delayed or avoided.
Respite Program Description
The MARCH, Inc. of Manchester Respite Program includes several service options for families in northeastern and central Connecticut. Each type of respite offers varied experiences as well as different support arrangements. The following are respite services currently offered by MARCH, Inc.:
Recreation / Time for Teens?: Teenagers and young adults share opportunities to make choices and participate in recreation activities scheduled in and around their hometowns. Program staff support the group and assist as needed.
School Break?: A day camp experience for school aged children who require individualized support in order to successfully participate in camp programs. This service is offered during school vacations in December, February, April and the last two weeks in August.
Children’s Recreation?: Offered two weekend days per month, this is an extension of the School Break format.
Cooking Class / Life Skills?: An educational activity for adults ages 18 and up. Assigned groups meet on Monday evenings and the first Sunday of the month.
In-Home Respite?: Provides the family with a Companion who comes to their home. This option allows the individual to stay in familiar home surroundings.
Out-Of-Home Respite?: Provides a home for the disabled person to visit for a few hours, an overnight, or a weekend. This type of respite allows the individual to learn other routines and to share in the experiences of the host family.
Community Respite?: Provides the individual with 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 respite outside the home to enjoy an activity in their town or a nearby town.
Who is Eligible?
Any developmentally disabled child or adult who lives with a natural or foster family is eligible to register for services with the MARCH, Inc. Respite Program. Fees are charged for the services, depending upon the specific respite option. Care is also available for non-disabled siblings.
Respite Companions receive training and ongoing support from MARCH, Inc. They also receive reimbursement for their time and expenses, valuable experience working with developmentally disabled people, and the pleasure of making new friends.
Companions may specify availability and ages of people with whom they wish to work. To ensure safety and quality of care, Companions are carefully screened, as are the homes of those Companions who wish to provide respite in their own home.
How do I Become Involved?
Families who are interested in receiving Respite services from MARCH, Inc. register with the agency’s Respite Director. The Director matches interested families with available Companions. Once a match has been made and a pre-placement visit has been completed, respite services can be requested.
Individuals who are interested in becoming a Respite Companion can apply to MARCH, Inc. by calling the Respite Director. Following the completion of the application process, training and a home visit will be arranged. Referrals of families requesting respite services will follow this process.
Training and certification programs are offered throughout the year.