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Self-directed services are key to self-advocacy

To Kayte Barton, self-advocacy “means being able to speak up for what I need.” One way that she advocates for […]

Kayte Barton standing at her front with her parents. Photo courtesy of PICS.

To Kayte Barton, self-advocacy “means being able to speak up for what I need.” One way that she advocates for her needs is by receiving Individualized Home Support (IHS) services through PICS (Partners in Community Supports). PICS is a licensed service provider and subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. 

IHS services support individuals who live in their own home or family home and receive waiver funding for paid caregiving. Self-directed services, like IHS, offer individuals the ability to receive care from a family member, friend or other person they trust. They also can set the schedule for when they receive care. The licensed service provider handles the employment details for the paid caregivers of IHS participants like Kayte, including hiring paperwork, processing payroll, tax reporting, and training for caregivers.

Working with PICS offers Kayte comfort in knowing who is going to be supporting her in her own home. “They allow my family to be my support team, my caregivers,” said Kayte. “They allow me to pick who I want and who I’m comfortable with. I don’t have to worry about turnover or staff quitting.”

One of Kayte’s caregivers is her mother, Kathy. She agrees that IHS is the right fit for her daughter’s needs. “Before we went to PICS, we had agency staff come out and take Kayte, but they’re strangers and Kayte hates that. With PICS, we can hire family and she has a say in that.”

Partnering with Families in Self-Direction. Video courtesy of PICS.

Advocating for policy change

Kayte was first introduced to self-advocacy through her involvement with Special Olympics. “That led to me becoming a self-advocate and advocating for policy change.” She has written legislation to promote inclusive healthcare and met with legislators to promote it. “After my own struggles, I learned I probably wasn’t alone in that fight.”

PICS has played an important role in Kayte’s self-advocacy work, said Kathy. “Because she can live at home with us, it has allowed her to focus on self-advocacy and get herself into a new niche. If she was in a group home, I don’t think they’d take the time to support her in doing that work. It would not have been an option for her if it hadn’t been for IHS.”

Getting started with PICS

PICS supports more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities and older adults, and more than 2,900 in-home caregivers. “At PICS, we will help you hire and train your workers, manage payroll, stay on budget, and make sure all your financial reporting is correct,” said Alaina Ericksen, senior director of PICS.

PICS has offered self-directed care options to individuals and families for more than 20 years. In addition to IHS services, PICS is also a Financial Management Services (FMS) provider for Consumer-Directed Community Supports (CDCS) and Consumer Support Grant (CSG) services. 

PICS’ services are available in any language through an interpretive service. Many materials, including the PICS website, are available in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

PICS’ enrollment team is available to support families as they start the enrollment process by phone at 651.967.5060 or by emailing [email protected].

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