Specialized Family Care

Frequently Asked Questions for Family Members

What is Specialized Family Care?

Specialized Family Care is a residential placement option offering an individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities a family living environment that meets the standards of the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources.

What services will my family member receive?

  • Our providers are expected to provide a safe and nurturing home for the person in their care.  A person’s hygiene, nutritional, medical, social, and emotional needs are to be met and addressed.
  • There are two major categories of services available through Specialized Family Care.  Placement and respite services.
    • Placement is when your family member lives full-time with a Specialized Family Care Provider (SFCP).  If you choose, your family member can return to your home for holidays, summer break, or when your schedule permits.
    • Respite is when your family member continues to live with you and receives occasional services from a Specialized Family Care Provider.  Respite is used when you need to take a break, have a family emergency or have other obligations that do not permit you to take care of your family member for a brief or regular period of time.  This break could be a day, weekend, week, month, every weekend, day time or evening hours, or any combination.  Families have used respite while the caregiver recuperated from surgery, during summer break from school and went out of town for work.

Will I lose my rights to my family member?

We are very much interested in maintaining family ties.  If you are the legal guardian, medical power of attorney, health care surrogate, or a concerned and interested family member, you will maintain those responsibilities.  An exception is when there is a circumstance like abuse or neglect.  In that case, the Specialized Family Care Program will follow the directives of the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources.

Can I meet the potential family and visit my family member?

Yes.  We encourage you to meet the family when a specific family is targeted to provide services for your family member.  You are the best authority to help the provider get to know your family member’s wants and needs and daily routine.  There may even be a transition period.  On-going relationships are encouraged.

Who pays for Specialized Family Care?

  • For the vast majority, Medicaid through the Title XIX I/DD Waiver or the Personal Care Program funds the person’s placement.  Their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security benefits are used for room & board and personal needs money when this is a full-time placement.
  • Other funding sources, like trust funds, have been used on rare occasions.

How will I know that my family member is safe and receives good care?

Although we cannot guarantee that everyone will remain safe and receive good care, we do have systems in place to monitor Specialized Family Care providers and the people in their care.

  • Before a provider is approved, fingerprints and other background checks are completed on all adult family members of the household, training is provided, and other certifications, like CPR & First Aid are completed.
  • After a provider is approved, monthly home visits occur when there is a full-time placement and quarterly home visits occur when a provider provides respite only.  Annual training is provided and background checks continue to occur on established schedules.

What if I don’t like how things are going?

If you do not like how things are going, we ask that you notify the Specialized Family Care Program Staff rather than deal with matters yourself.  Each provider has a designated Family Based Care Specialist (FBCS).  You will be informed of who that staff person is.  There are informal and formal procedures for Program staff to follow.  If you are not satisfied with the actions of the Specialized Family Care Program staff, you are always encouraged to contact the Specialized Family Care Program Manager at (304) 290-1380.

If I already know and like a provider, can my family member live with that family?

That depends.  Providers are limited to providing services to two people or a sibling group at any one time to ensure quality care.  There may be other factors that limit the number or characteristics of a person for whom the provider may provide services.  For example, some providers are approved to provide services to adults only.  The Specialized Family Care Program uses a “matching process” to ensure the best fit between a family and a potential Person-in-Placement.

What is the "matching process"?

When a provider is available to provide full-time placement or respite services, the assigned worker and the provider meet and discuss the factors related to the home and family, like if they are approved to provide care to children, adults, or both, what bedroom space they have available, wheelchair accessibility, pets in the home, and a list of other factors.  Then we review the qualities of potential persons for whom they would like to provide care, like medical needs, lifting, incontinence, communication, and a list of other factors.  Providers who are the best match for the person are contacted.  If a provider is interested, meetings among necessary parties occur.

Is there a limit to how much time a person may live in Specialized Family Care?

No.  A person may remain in Specialized Family Care as long as they remain eligible and their needs can be met.

How do I refer my family member to Specialized Family Care?