Making The Arc the "Go-To" Place for Families Caring for a Loved One with I/DD

Monday, July 23
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: The Admiral's Quarters

For close to seventy years, The Arc of New Jersey has been committed to providing information and advocacy to families of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Ensuring that families have the tools they need and are empowered to act have been our top priorities. We have learned that with the proper information, training, mentoring, support and advocacy, families make an enormous difference in not only their own family member’s life but in the lives of all individuals with I/DD.

Established in 2013, The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute is dedicated to providing timely information, advocacy, support and training to family members of an individual with I/DD. It consolidates all of our outreach, information and support to families under one program and greatly expands upon our existing activities. It was crafted with the knowledge and expertise of our past initiatives in mind, engaging the vibrant force of the local county chapters and the growing enthusiasm of hundreds of families connected with The Arc.

A key component of The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute includes the rapidly growing Families and Friends Networks which provide up-to-the-minute information for families, as well as engaging them in state and federal advocacy initiatives. Members of the Families Network have engaged in online and face-to-face advocacy efforts and have been extremely successful. Another component includes an extensive library of educational materials which have been developed in a variety of formats and mediums. Topics are determined based on the calls for information which The Arc Family Institute receives.

The Arc Family Institute also offers a broad array of workshops and trainings for families and caregivers which may be online or in person. Topics cover a wide array of issues including Early Intervention, Special Education, Transition to Adult Life, Adult Services, Future Planning and Navigating Service Systems.

And last, but certainly not least, The Arc of NJ Family Institute provides hundreds of hours of individual advocacy to families each month. To meet the growing demand, staff have developed several creative tools to assist in responding to as many families as possible.

This session will give an overview of The Arc of NJ Family Institute, its mission and vision. The presenter will discuss methods of outreach and engagement, advocacy tools, educational materials and resources. She will provide examples of The Arc Family Institute’s resources, and educational and training materials. She will also discuss some of the strategies and philosophy she has used to engage families and earn the respect and trust of the numerous State agencies she interacts with. Finally, she will review some of the unique methods she uses to provide advocacy and education to families, as well as build the Families and Friends Networks.

Lisa Ford

Director, The Arc of NJ Family Institute
The Arc of New Jersey

Lisa Ford was named Director, The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute in 2014, after working as a Transition Navigator for The Arc of NJ Planning for Adult Life Program. Lisa holds an MS in Special Education and prior to working for The Arc, was a Special

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