It is important to recognize that IAC programs typically serve two 'customers' - program participants and their parents/families/support systems. Certainly there are some situations where an individual with I/DD doesn't have any family or their family is a negative influence on them, but for the most part people living in an IAC still rely on the support of family. These two 'customers' are not always on the same page and program staff can get placed in the middle. In any IAC it's critical that staff realize the independence of the individual but also honor the role of the support system. The end goal is always supporting an individual in a manner that allows for family support/involvement and individual autonomy.
WE HAVE FOUND THE PRIMARY CONCERNS FOR PARENTS/FAMILIES ARE:
•    Safety
•    Employment - Meaningful opportunities for the future
•    Friends/Social Opportunities that provide meaningful relationships
•    Caring and competent staff that will offer long-term care and guidance
It is imperative that IAC staff recognize and respect the concern of a family while balancing the rights of the individual. Staff play an important and unique role and many times they can accomplish things with a person that parents/families cannot. Why is that? Because staff are not their parents! When the individual works with their support system/family and the staff it enables the greatest opportunity for success.
IAC'S WORK BEST WITH PARENTS/FAMILIES WHEN . . .
1.    They meet them where they are and respect what they are going through
2.    Recognize there is possibly an ongoing grief process as their son/daughter becomes more independent
3.    Acknowledge that this is a difficult and emotional process for them
4.    Communicate with them often, not just when things go wrong
5.    Suggest boundaries but be understanding if they cross them
6.    Give them permission to take a break and take care of themselves (allow a parent to just be a parent for once!)
7.    Explain that it is OK for their son/daughter to struggle and even fail at times. Remind them that you won't give
        up on them in their struggle.
8.    Give them opportunities to play a role in decisions that affect their son/daughter's life at your program -
        helps meet a need for some control
WHAT ARE SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARENTS/FAMILIES TO BE INVOLVED?
Parents and families often want to be involved with our programs in a few different ways.
RESIDENT SUPPORT
Work as a team with staff
Give input (not mandates) to Individual goals
PROGRAM QUALITY
Volunteer time and talents
Donate
Network with other parents/families
The IAC is a type of environment where my child flourishes. Not just from a physical needs perspective, but from a
community point of view. My dream has always been to provide a home and caregiver for my child. That changed
once I visited an IAC. I saw first-hand the impact of a community; of social interaction with peers. - Dave (parent)

The IAC model has been an integral part of our programs launch, and I look forward to a long term association with
the IAC Group. - Kristi (professional with Peyton's Purpose)
I love living at Stephen's Place (IAC). I can live independently, but I also have a safe place
and people to care about me when I need help. Sometimes I am not good with
boundaries and Stephen's Place keeps me safe. - Liz (resident)

An IAC is my home. I can get the support I need and have friends to spend time with.
- Riley (resident)

We have looked at many places throughout the United States and Casa (IAC) represents
the best of all that we have found. - Steve (Parent)

I love Casa (IAC) because I have freedom, friends and the support I need! - Krista (resident)
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