The developmentally disabled population is an under-recognized community in our society. The term disabled often conjures up the image of someone in a wheelchair. But, in actual fact, being disabled is more complex than that. Here at Esperanza Services being disabled means that an individual has the right to benefit from focused and consistent support. That’s what we provide: support that allows individuals regardless of their disability to live full and meaningful lives. The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act of 1977 established the rights of persons with developmental disabilities to services and the support they need and choose so that they can lead independent, productive and normal lives in the community. Individuals who are eligible for services under the Lanterman Act are those with developmental disabilities; those who are high risk of giving birth to a child with a developmental disability; and infants who have a high risk of becoming developmentally disabled. In addition to people in these categories, Esperanza Services provides support to persons with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and other developmentally disabled conditions. These are our clients. While the Lanterman Act has been amended over the years, the make-up of the families in this population has changed. At Esperanza Services, about 52% of clients are considered the head of household with 2.3 children. Over 80% of these children are classified as “non-disabled” which means they are unable to obtain the same support their parents are entitled to under the Lanterman Act. The result is that many of our clients’ children lack a strong support system. Their parents rarely provide their children with the guidance or motivation nor the encouragement to set and achieve educational and life goals for themselves.
Purpose of the RISE Program
Given this situation and the tremendous need, Esperanza Services has established a pilot program aimed to educate children between the ages six and seventeen residing within the home of a developmentally disabled client designated as the head of household. This criterion promotes the multigenerational approach that our pilot program is designed to address. Approximately 20% of Esperanza Service clients identify themselves as grandparents. Over the next ten years, it is projected that 50% of current Esperanza Service clients’ children will be young adults or teens capable of starting their own families regardless of their readiness to be a parent. Considering these statistics, the pilot program’s main objective is to impart the philosophy that each child is able to recognize their innate ability to make empowered choices. This philosophy is crucial for young adults/ teens to formulate educated and informed decisions that affect their lives.
For further information about this program or to learn how to participate, please contact Shellyn Aguirre at (626) 457-5242.
RISE Referral Form
Please click to download: Referral Form PDF