GSSW Center Seeks Better Lives for Elderly, Disabled

GSSW Center Seeks Better Lives for Elderly, Disabled

The Graduate School of Social Work has established a national social work research center that aims to enhance the quality of life for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

The Center for the Study of Home and Community Life is directed by Assoc. Prof. Kevin Mahoney (GSSW), who heads the innovative Cash and Counseling program which enables Medicaid recipients to decide for themselves how to meet their personal assistance needs .

Mahoney described the center's mission as "improving the quality of supports and services for persons with disabilities through consumer direction, and fostering the development of inclusive communities that recognize and value the roles of older people and persons with disabilities.

"We see the center as a clearinghouse of resources and information in this growing field: identifying, demonstrating and evaluating promising approaches for older adults and persons with disabilities; synthesizing insights and research findings and sharing these with policy-makers and other professionals; and advocating systems changes that emphasize consumer direction and empowerment, and inclusiveness."

Cash and Counseling is one of two major initiatives administered via the center. The other is the Home and Community-Based Services Resource Network, which will work to bring together federal and state resources in expanding access to high-quality, consumer-directed home and community-based services and supports.

Other recent and ongoing projects include: a World Wide Web site,, with federal and state data, seminal research and "best practices" on home and community-based resources; a curriculum for re-training care managers switching from medical to consumer-directed models of service delivery; and assessment tools for states to gauge the degree to which their programs are consumer-directed.

The center also will make available publications, such as guides on quality in consumer-directed services and making meeting areas accessible for persons with disabilities.


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