Specialized Family Care

Frequently Asked Questions For Professionals

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 is the definition of "Development Disability"?

The term "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

  1. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
  2. Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
  3. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
  4. Results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    1. Self-care
    2. Receptive and expressive language
    3. Learning
    4. Mobility
    5. Self-direction
    6. Capacity for independent living
  5. Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

What do I need to do to refer a person to Specialized Family Care?

  • Every person referred to the Specialized Family Care Program is special and each referral is unique.  Here is a link to our website that will initiate a referral.
  • We encourage you to contact your local Family Based Care Specialist (FBCS) or the Specialized Family Care Program Manager at 304.356.4562. Here is a link to the contact person for each county in West Virginia.

What happens after I make the initial referral?

Once the initial referral is received and reviewed, Specialized Family Care Program Staff will contact you.  This is usually the Family Based Care Specialist assigned to your region of the state.

  • If the referral information contains sufficient information, a determination may be made regarding the person's eligibility for Specialized Family Care.  If insufficient information is provided, the Specialized Family Care Program Staff will assist you in determining what documents may be needed.
  • Funding sources for placement in Specialized Family Care will be reviewed.  If the person does not already have a funding source, you will be provided documents for you to secure a funding source.  Title XIX I/DD Medicaid Wavier and Medicaid Personal Care fund most placements in Specialized Family Care.  Currently, there is a significant waitlist of a few years to obtain Title XIX I/DD Medicaid Waiver.
  • The Family Based Care Specialist will request an opportunity to meet the person referred and speak with knowledgeable people to have a better understanding of that person's needs and the necessary level of care.  Sometimes a potential Specialized Family Care Provider joins the Family Based Care Specialist.  If the potential Specialized Family Care Provider is willing to provide a home for the referred person, transition planning will commence.
  • Transition planning can include day and overnight visits to the home, specific training by the current caregivers and/or medical person, a review of medical and other needs, and the logistics of transferring the person and the belongings.
  • If a person is determined to be ineligible for Specialized Family Care or if a placement cannot be secured in Specialized Family Care the Family Based Care Specialist will inform you, usually in writing, and may discuss alternative placement options for you to consider.

Are Specialized Family Care Providers required to provide a placement to anyone eligible for a Specialized Family Care placement?

No.  A Specialized Family Care Home is a home and not a facility.  Each Specialized Family Care Provider, their home and family are unique.  They have special skills, interests, and talents.  Some families come to the Specialized Family Care Program with a desire to serve people with specific needs, like a high need for assistance with their daily activities, training towards independence or to overcome abuse or neglect.  Each person referred to Specialized Family Care is unique and will have special needs, wants, and preferences.  Placements will be successful when good planning and matching occurs.   A family with small children would probably not be the ideal place for someone with aggressive behaviors.  A person who requires heavy lifting is best matched with a Specialized Family Care Provider that can meet this need through physical strength, adaptive equipment, and additional assistance.  Even Specialized Family Care Providers need an effective support system and respite providers.  Expecting every family to be prepared and willing to meet the complex needs of people with a wide range of differences and disabilities is unrealistic.

What happens after a person is placed in a Specialized Family Care Home?

  • If all goes well and the person's family and team are pleased with the placement and would like the person to continue to live with the Specialized Family Care Provider, then the placement continues as long as the Specialized Family Care Provider is willing and able to meet the needs of the person.  There are people in the Specialized Family Care Program who have lived with the same family for over thirty years.  Oftentimes, when a Specialized Family Care Provider can no longer provide the necessary care, an extended family member of the Specialized Family Care Provider will step up to the plate to assume that responsibility for the person who has become a family member.
  • If all doesn't go well, depending upon the situation, the person's team will meet to see what actions can be taken to maintain a placement.  If that is not possible then alternative placement options are considered.