Advocacy’s role is to promote the individual and collective rights of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
You and your family can benefit from the vast experiences and knowledge base of staff and volunteer advocates, addressing many issues from early Intervention to services for senior citizens. Advocates are not attorneys and will not give legal advice. A major ongoing advocacy goal focuses on offering resources that can assist you or your family member to become a personal advocate. The Arc Alliances Advocates evaluate each request to determine the level of assistance that may be required to address the issue.
The Arc Advocacy Services – provides a variety of services and supports for individuals diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families. Our Advocates, Supports Coordinators, and Guardians are also members of local task force groups to provide education, information, and legislative advocacy for the individuals in our community. We also provide training, support groups, and legislative advocacy to ensure that everyone has the right to participate fully in their community, to develop relationships, and have the opportunities to pursue their dreams.
Our advocates are committed to assisting families in their efforts to determine and obtain the supports, services and placement their children need to make meaningful educational progress. “The Arc Alliance is not providing legal services or legal advice”
Over its long history, The Arc has always provided advocacy at no charge to those who needed it. Recently, however, due to severe funding cuts and increased demand for services, The Arc Alliance was forced to reconsider its commitment to providing these services at no charge to all who request the services. How can we continue to effectively serve families in greatest need while still making our services accessible to all other families who also need quality education advocacy support? Again, the need is great.
After much consideration, we are pleased to announce that the same high quality Education Advocacy services will continue to be offered at no charge to families with a verifiable total household income of $70,000 or less. We are also pleased to announce that all other families can access The Arc’s highly qualified Education Advocacy services for a reasonable fee of $60/hour.
Educational and Adult Advocacy:
The Arc Alliance Advocacy Services is here to provide guidance and advocacy to families and caregivers who have questions or concerns regarding their children’s special education services. Every parent or guardian wants his or her child to achieve full potential through a successful and meaningful education experience. Special Education is often viewed as a confusing experience, a series of intimidating meetings and a maze of professionals and services that are not always to a child’s unique needs. Our Advocate always works toward empowering the parent or guardian to become a knowledgeable and active participant in his or her child’s IEP team, helping you become your child’s best advocate. We can help you with appropriate resources, review IEP’s and evaluations, and help you figure out what questions or concerns to bring to the meeting.
The Adult Advocacy services provide information and referral, individual advocacy and systems advocacy issues of adult community life. Those core issues in adult advocacy include functional supports and services, social supports, employment and housing, health care, benefits, and the quality of community life. The adult advocacy assists individuals and families in accessing the resources needed to support meaningful community life.
For Educational and Adult Advocacy services , you can contact County Director of Advocacy, Janine Farrall via email at jfarrall@TheArcAlliance.org or County Director of Advocacy (Berks County), Leoni Rutter via email at lrutter@TheArcAlliance.org or at 610-265-4700
A Representative Payee is the person who assists the individual with their finances. They maintain the individuals accounts and are responsible for ensuring that their bills are paid and a budget is maintained.
Our Representative Payee, Charlene McGrath, can be contacted at 610-265-4700 or via email at cmcgrath@TheArcAlliance.org
Guardianship is a legal relationship through which The Arc Alliance Advocacy Services is authorized to make decisions on behalf of adults who have an intellectual or developmental disability, and have been found to be incompetent by the court. While it is preferred that a guardian be an individual, The Arc Alliance Advocacy Services provides an option for people who do not have a relative or acquaintance able and willing to be the guardian.
Guardianship of the Person includes the responsibilities to care for the individual needs regarding where they should live, whether they should participate in vocational or habilitatie programs, consent for medical treatment and decisions about visitors and leisure activities. Guardianship of the Person does not involve control over money or property, but if the guardianship of the estate is needed The Arc Alliance Advocacy Services may be able to provide those services.
Our Legal Guardian, Melissa Doxtater, can be contacted at 610-265-4700 or via email at mdoxtater@TheArcAllinance.org
A Supports Coordinator is the caseworker within the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) or The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS). They are responsible for assisting the individual to locate, coordinate, and monitor services and supports that they are eligible to receive under these systems. The Supports Coordinator assists the individual to find providers of services, to ensure that the services they receive are appropriate, and to connect the individual with funding to pay for services.
“Our family has found the Supports Coordinator from The Arc Alliance Advocacy Service is more compassionate and understanding than others we have worked with in the past. She responds quickly to my grand daughters needs with legitimate options on support and services. It seems to us that she treats our grand daughter as though she was her own family member. We are thrilled with The Arc Alliance Supports Coordination and are happy to have them involved in our lives and the life of our grand daughter.”
The Focus of The Arc Alliance Supports Coordination is you, we look to provide both paid and natural support and services enabling you to grow and live in your community.
Our Core Values focus on YOU:
- Person-Centered Planning
- Full Community Inclusion
- Increased accessibility of Supports Coordinators with smaller caseloads
- Utilizing all resources to ensure that every option is made available
- Collaboration with providers to create individualized programs
- Promoting relationships with family and friends
- Efficient and responsible use of funding sources
- Coordination with other Systems and Services
Additional Service Area’s where you may need assistance:
- Children and adult specialized services
- Special Education & Early Intervention plans
- Community-based MH/MR services
- Waiver Programs and Compliance Issues
- Residential Issues and concerns
- Prioritization and Urgency Need for Service Review (PUNS)
- Vocational and employment issues
- Government benefits & entitlements
- Legal guardianship & Power of Attorney
- Money management
- Behavioral Health Issues
- Information and referral
- Training & facilitation of parent groups
- Financial and strategic planning
- System-wide program & service review
If you have questions or would like to speak with a staff member regarding your specific needs please contact our office at 610-265-4700 and ask for Advocacy Services or contact us today online. We are waiting to assist you today!