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Vermont's Innovation Grant

Project Title: Peer-Directed Personal Care Cooperative Project
Organization/State Lead: Vermont Center for Independent Living
Contact Person:  Sarah Launderville, Executive Director

Project Goals:

  • Creation of a peer controlled system for 24/7 delivery of personal care services through pooling of care resources
  • Provide the opportunity for people to leave nursing homes or other restrictive settings and receive professional and adequate care within their own community
  • Personal Care Attendants are able to increase hours worked and decrease the cost of driving distances between peers served
  • Personal Care Attendants will receive a livable wage and benefits
  • Participants will increase their involvement in the community including: gain employment, attend school, volunteer, and experience improved relationships with family and friends

Project Description:

The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) received an Innovation Grant from the NRCPDS to form a peer-directed cooperative to provide 24 hour a day access to care for people who use personal attendant services and live in the Burlington, Vermont area. Members who join the Cooperative will live in proximity to one another and pool their “Choices for Care” or other funding to achieve personal care services that help them live more independently as active members of their families and community and valued employees. VCIL and its partners and peers have joined together to identify and create a model that leads to success and full peer participation in the delivery and quality of services.

Cooperative members will hire and train personal care attendants. The PCAs will be paid a livable wage and benefits to help professionalize PCA work. It is expected that some of the people recruited as PCAs may also be people with disabilities.

VCIL believes that the Cooperative model will decrease forced segregation found in some other models of cooperatives and increase the ability of people with disabilities to have more control over their own lives.

Summary of Accomplishments

VCIL launched A Better Living Environment (ABLE) Cooperative, a community-based shared care system in Burlington, VT, with an Innovations Grant from the NRCPDS with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project was developed by VCIL but involved collaboration and partnerships with various other local agencies. ABLE officially became a registered VT nonprofit consumer cooperative on May 30, 2012 with their officers elected in August of the same year. In addition to developing a business plan and pursuing 501(c)(3) status, ABLE developed quality measures for PCA services and a baseline survey for ABLE members.

Resources Developed

  • ABLE Certificate of Incorporation
  • ABLE Bylaws
  • ABLE History and Info
  • Flyers
  • ABLE Start-up Budget
  • Presentations
  • Communication Flowchart
  • PR Template Article
  • ABLE Quality Survey Questions
  • Board Policy
  • Officer’s Policy
  • ABLE Final Report

Follow this link to download the resources


National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services
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