Who Are We?
We began meeting over 11 years ago as a group of parents who each had a child with a disability. Although our children all had very different needs, we shared a common belief that it would be very hard to guarantee safety and a good quality life for them in the future after we were no longer to provide support.
Year by year as government programs were cut back, our fears mounted. We tried to find a way to create some kind of organization that could provide a safe and secure life for our loved ones after we were gone but somehow, for one reason after another, the solution was never found.
We followed the Etmanskis and their groundbreaking work in Canada and we were enlightened. Their work in founding the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) resonated with our core beliefs and we felt a kinship with them. One of our parents then went to Vancouver, Canada and attended a PLAN training and was deeply inspired by the families she met and the stories they told.
We were soon lucky to find a parent organization who had our same values and would allow us to operate independently within their nonprofit organization. Family Link became a reality as an independent division of Community Link in 2010.
Four core values characterize Family Link:
- Family Link is family directed.
- Friends form the foundation of a safe, secure and enriched life.
- Independence from government funding makes us a more effective organization.
- People with disabilities have an important contribution to make to our community.
Family Link provides the following services:
We assist families to develop a Personal Future Plan for their relative. Future care can only be guaranteed by an adequate Future Plan.
We facilitate the establishment of a loving and caring Personal Network in the life of the person with a disability.
Our goal is to create a greater community awareness of the contributions that can be made by people with disabilities.
We do not accept government funding for the simple reason that to be advocates who speak freely for individuals with disabilities and their families we must remain financially independent of government.
Family Link does not offer or deliver programs or residential or employment services to people with disabilities.
Our organization complements, but does not replace services and programs offered by local agencies.
Family Link’s philosophy mandates a majority of Board members must be families. In addition, Family Link has an active parent mentor program which ensures that every member who has a Personal Network for their relative is monitored on a regular basis.