Lifesharing - Access Services

Lifesharing

A home to live and grow in

Lifesharing allows individuals to live with qualified, trained providers, becoming a part of their lives and families while offering support and guidance to achieve their goals and aspirations. 

PA Counties We Serve
With Lifesharing

For Individuals 18 or older
with an intellectual disability

lifesharing family hugging

What is Lifesharing?

It can be difficult to think of the future and the support that an adult with disabilities may need.

Lifesharing is a unique program that allows individuals (18 and older) with intellectual disabilities to live with qualified, trained providers and become a part of their lives and families.

Access Services’ Lifesharing Program has been connecting individuals with caring provider families since 1984!

Lifesharing providers who open their homes offer support and guidance to empower their individual to reach for and achieve their goals and aspirations.

“It’s companionship. We do a lot of things together. We cook, swim, watch TV, clean. We help one another out.”
Lifesharing Provider

Meaningful Relationships

The beauty of Lifesharing is that it gives individuals and providers the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with each other’s families as well and grow beyond what they could have imagined.

lifesharing men hanging out together outside
“I believe strongly that my children are better people because we did Lifesharing.”
Lifesharing Provider
lifesharing family having dinner at a restaurant together

The Family's Role in Lifesharing

Families of individuals are encouraged to take part in the Lifesharing process as much as possible.

Once the Lifesharing program begins, the natural family is able to continue being a part of their loved one’s life through visits, support, holidays spent together and participation in team meetings.

The ongoing role of each family is unique to each situation.

Why Choose Lifesharing?

two women sharing life smiling together outside

Join us for an info session.

These free virtual info sessions will help you understand the process and commitment to become a Lifesharing provider. Register for one of the sessions using the buttons below.

Contact us to make a referral or to apply to become a Lifesharing family/provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

As an Access Services host family, you would:

  • become a valued member of the team and your ideas and opinions would count
  • receive regular guidance and support in your work especially when you run into challenges
  • have 24 hour on call support by telephone and at your home, when needed
  • have training opportunities in addition to the required training and orientation

To become a host family, you will need a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. Household members will need physicals, showing that everyone is free from communicable diseases. Various clearances and references are also required. It is important that your family has sufficient income to meet the financial needs of your household without relying on the reimbursement you will receive for providing care and support to the individual placed in your home.

You can rest assured that Access Services will guide you through the process of becoming a host family without it becoming a long drawn out process. Once we receive your application, we will schedule a time to meet with you for approximately one hour for orientation. This will allow for time to answer questions you may have in addition to discussing what becoming a host family with Access Services entails. More detailed information about Access Services, the host family programs, the approval and placement processes, specific documentation and training requirements will also be provided.

After orientation, if you are comfortable with continuing with the process, a home interview and safety inspection will be scheduled and completed. If you are interested in becoming a host family for the Foster Care or Lifesharing programs a second home interview will be conducted. The second home interview will be performed by someone who works within the program you are interested in, who will be able to provide you with more pertinent information.

Access Services provides you with all needed training free of cost. We do not require that you come to the office multiple evenings to obtain the training. Most of the trainings can be done in the comfort of your own home by way of modules or online trainings. Currently, the only “classroom” required pre-service training is First Aid and CPR. Twenty-four hours of pre-service training is required.

Once your file is complete, it will be reviewed. Upon approval, you may begin providing respite care while waiting for a permanent placement.

You would be responsible for the day-to-day care, supervision, and development of the individual placed in your care. Often times, the individuals placed also attend school, day program or work outside of the home. Individuals typically need varying levels of support concerning appointments, activities, and transportation. Other responsibilities would include participation in monthly meetings, completion of required documentation, adherence to state regulations (which we will help you with) and helping the person in your care learn new skills and meet their personal goals.

Access Services is currently offering a $250 sign-on bonus to new host families once they are approved and complete only two days of respite!

You would be classified as an independent contractor and the monies you receive would be considered reimbursement for room, board, and care to the individual placed in your home.

Reimbursement rates for host family care start at $1,175.00/month for children and $2,200.00/month for adults (non-taxable income). Respite rates range from $80.00 - $150.00 per day (before tax).

Currently, Access Services awards bonuses (up to a maximum of $500 per referral) to host families who refer other host families. The first $200 will be dispersed once the referred family’s file is complete and they provide one day of respite or receive a long-term placement. An additional $300 will be awarded once the referred family has provided thirty days of respite or has provided care to an individual placed through Lifesharing or Therapeutic Foster Care for only three months.

You would not be responsible for paying for the clothing needs of individuals staying in your home. The individuals receiving services typically have their own insurance and are responsible for all related co-pays and expenses, to include medication. Money may or may not be available for recreational activities.

Access Services desires to make suitable matches between host families and individuals in need of a home. When a possible match has been identified, an Access Services representative will call you to discuss all pertinent information. Pre-placement visits are essential in order to ensure a successful match. As the host family, you would ultimately choose whether or not you are able to take the person into your home.

We would encourage you to provide short term Respite Care before making a decision to enter into a long term placement. This would afford you invaluable experience caring for people with special needs and give you the chance to get started sooner. The process to receive a long term placement is a more extended process.

Typically, adults have their own rooms. Children can share bedrooms. Children five years of age and older can only share a bedroom with children of the same gender. Bedrooms need to have appropriate size beds for each person. There should be a mirror, dresser or chest of drawers, and closet or wardrobe space available for each individual.

As a Lifesharing provider, you would be assigned an Access Services coordinator as your primary contact person. The coordinator will partner with you making sure that you have the information you need to care for the individual placed in your home. After hours, you will have access to our on-call system. Support will always be available in an emergency. Our system is such that you will receive a quick response from someone who is familiar with the individual in your care. You will also receive pre-service training outlining what to do in the event of an emergency. Access Services is known for our commitment and support to the individuals we serve and our host families and we will be with you every step of the way

“We have a pretty small team compared to some other teams within the agency. The thing that comes to mind when I think about our team is fun. I really try to sort of keep things fun but make our environment a safe space for us to be able to vent with the realization that support people in their needs and desires can be stressful. It’s very tricky. It involved letting people take risks and letting people fail which is really difficult when you are called to help and service. We just really try to spend time when we’re together. Sort of fun, humor. Those are important to us. Creating a space where we feel most comfortable. Also, an atmosphere of support. I really feel like we are a team that has each other’s backs. If someone is struggling with an individual and how to support them, we spend a lot of time brainstorming about how to help or physically jump in to assist. Which I think is extremely important.”
Sabrina Conyon
Lifesharing Team

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