The Center for Independent Living Serving Carroll and Frederick Counties
The Freedom Center, Inc
Independent Living is controlling and directing your own life. It is about making decisions, taking responsibility for your actions, learning through success and failure, and having opportunities to participate in all aspects of community life. It is exercising the greatest degree of choice about where you live, with whom you live, and how you live. As Judy Heumann said, "Independent living is not doing everything by yourself; rather, it is being in control of how things are done."
The Freedom Center provides support and services to people with disabilities in Frederick and Carroll Counties. Independent living services and supports include, but are not limited to, equal access, removal of physical and attitudinal barriers, the availability of affordable and accessible housing, availability of accessible transportation, availability of personal assistance services, and equal opportunities for employment.
In addition, education and training that is necessary for living in a community and participating in community activities are offered as IL services. Services are designed to provide resources, training, counseling, or other assistance of substantial benefit in enhancing the independence, productivity, and quality of life of individuals with disabilities. Community awareness programs are available to enhance the understanding and integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream of life. Most importantly, this center includes other services that may be necessary to improve the ability of an individual with a significant disability to function, continue functioning, or move toward functioning independently in the his/her own home, in the family or community.
Independent Living is controlling and directing your own life. It is about making decisions, taking responsibility for your actions, learning through success and failure, and having opportunities to participate in all aspects of community life. It is exercising the greatest degree of choice about where you live, with whom you live, and how you live. As Judy Heumann said, "Independent Living is not doing everything by yourself; rather, it is being in control of how things are done."
Advocacy-Empowering individuals to have increased access to the community by breaking down barriers and through systems change.
Information and Referral-Providing contacts and resources in the community.
Independent Living Skills Training-Developing everyday life skills to be more independent.
Peer Counseling–One-on-One exchange of examining and discussing issues and concerns.
Transition Services-It provides services that will allow someone to return to the community from a nursing facility to live in the most integrated setting of their choice. It also provides preventative services to avoid nursing home placement. Also, it provides transition services to Youth from school to work or from school to post-secondary education to work.
IL AT Program-IL AT program's intent is to help people with disabilities function as independently as possible in their daily lives. Where needed, the IL AT program will pay for such things as Aids for Daily Living, Environmental Control Units (ECU), Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), assistive technology, durable medical equipment, and other devices that Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurers will not provide. The IL AT program may be able to assist with a purchase or repair within the constraints of the individual funding limits. Besides AT, the IL AT program may also fund home and vehicle modifications.
Peer Outreach program-The Freedom Center’s Peer Outreach program is a team approach to provide peer outreach and ongoing peer support to identify and facilitate nursing home transition to the community for residents who have been identified as wanting to return to their community. The Peers have an ongoing presence in nursing homes to share their personal experiences about community based options and provide ongoing peer support to residents throughout the decision making process and transition. Once a resident indicates interest in learning more about community-based options, the peers make referrals for options counseling and follow up. They continue to provide ongoing peer support at the resident’s request throughout the waiver application process until the person has been transitioned to the community.
Money Follows the Person Options Counseling-Options Counseling as part of the ADRC initiative is a program in which The Freedom Center provides application assistance and program education to identified nursing home residents who wish to apply for a waiver and leave the facility to transition to a more integrated setting of their choice.
Money Follows the Person Peer Mentoring program-The Freedom Center’s staff provides peer mentoring if a referral is given to nursing home residents who have transitioned to the community as a result of the MFP program.
MAP (ADRC initiative) program-The Freedom Center is in a partnership with Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities and the Frederick County Department of Aging to provide long term services and supports to people with disabilities and older adults who live in the community. The Aging and Disability Resource Centers, aka, Maryland Access Point, was established as the single point of entry using the No Wrong Door approach for individuals seeking long term support services. The Freedom Center provides individual, person-centered counseling to consumers seeking information, referral, and program support for long term services. We provide the five core services while collocating in the MAP offices.
MIPPA-The Freedom Center with its MAP partners provides outreach to the rural areas of both Frederick and Carroll Counties to people with disabilities and older adults to ensure that they are aware of the Medicare Savings programs, Medicaid programs, and EID. Since the onset of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, there has been an increase in enrollments for these programs.
Employment Network-The Freedom Center provides services and support that will allow Social Security beneficiaries to choose work. Ticket Holders may assign their tickets to The Freedom Center. Once assigned, beneficiaries will have access to meaningful employment to achieve substantial gainful employment and to sustain gainful employment. The services offered are job hunting, resume building, job training, job coaching, peer counseling, and independent living skills training such as money management, job interviewing skills, time management, etc. Also, recruiting employers and job development are part of the Job Development Specialist’s responsibilities. Educating employers about reasonable accommodations is an important function of the EN as needed for consumers seeking employment. Benefits planning is provided so the beneficiary is fully prepared for the changes in benefits.
WORC-The Workforce Opportunities and Recruitment Club is a volunteer program for job seekers to aid in the transition to the work environment after being on SSA benefits. Ticket holders can volunteer to work in The Freedom Center’s office doing a variety of activities that will train them to work on a schedule, learn time management, work with others in an office, learn new skills, appropriate behavior in the work environment as well as other skills that will help them to transition to a work setting and increase their sustainability in job placement so they are achieving substantial gainful employment. The consumers are given the tools to find and maintain employment.
Benefits Counseling-The Freedom Center provides Benefits planning to DORS clients who are SSA beneficiaries trying to return to work. Designated and approved staff provides counseling to beneficiaries about direct work incentives and assistance services to assist beneficiaries in their efforts to join the workforce.
WIPA-The Freedom Center is a subcontractor to Independence Now to provide WIPA services to Carroll County Social Security beneficiaries. Designated staff provides direct work incentives planning and assistance services to beneficiaries who meet SSA’s guidelines for receiving WIPA services to assist them in their employment efforts; support beneficiaries in retaining/sustaining meaningful employment at significant earnings levels and improve their economic security; as well as any follow-up support that is needed after the original services are provided.
Travel Training program-The Freedom Center offers travel training services to maximize independence through using the area’s existing public transportation services.
We the People-The Freedom Center’s consumer advocacy group is an effort to teach consumers to become more involved and take ownership of their issues so they can organize systems advocacy to change public policy to make the community a better place to live, work, and play.