by Jeffrey H. Minde, Esq.
Louis J. Cohn, Contributor
Parents should be encouraged to make residential placement decisions earlier rather than later. A disabled adult faced with the trauma of a parent's death together with the trauma associated with the transition to a new residential placement is often overwhelmed. Parents should seek the least restrictive environment as an appropriate placement for their child. The term "least restrictive environment" means different things to different people. For a child who is mildly developmentally disabled, the least restrictive environment might mean his or her own apartment or a supportive living environment. For a more moderately or severely developmentally disabled person the least restrictive environment might mean an appropriate group home. For the profoundly disabled person an appropriate placement may be in an intermediate care facility (I.C.F.) if custodial care is an issue.
Parents, with proper planning, can have the opportunity to create a residential facility for the benefit of their respective children. Groups of parents have created non-profit organizations for the sole and express purpose of developing a group home which serves as the residence for their child for as long as appropriate. Although the purchase of a home as a shared expense between parents can be an expensive venture, it has not been uncommon for parents to raise all or part of their respective share of the expenses of the group home purchase through gifts from friends or relatives or bequests from grandparents. Group homes that are privately funded can assure their perpetuity by establishing Umbrella or Pooled Trusts. Also, many agencies, religious or otherwise, may sponsor the development and operation of a group home. Their support would assure the perpetuity of the group home.
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