The Developmental Services Division of United Counseling Service delivers quality innovative community programs for adults with developmental disabilities throughout Bennington County. Individuals seeking support can be referred by family, schools, physicians, or other community partners. Those wishing to come into Developmental Services must meet the DS eligibility requirements as defined in the Developmental Services Local System of Care. Eligible individuals work with a team of professionals who collaborate to best meet the specific needs of each person we serve.
Supports and services are very individualized based on a person’s needs and hopes and dreams. We strive to help people with disabilities become as independent as possible while pursuing goals and activities that are the most meaningful to them. We apply a very person-centered approach so that people with disabilities are happy and productive members of their community
Community Supports Program
Our Community Supports Program assists individuals with various disabilities in navigating, integrating and creating meaningful connection in the community. Participants learn and grow in many different areas of their lives. Our clients are supported by trained staff as they learn improved social skills, how to navigate the community safely and discover community activities that enhance their lives. The DS Community Supports Program is designed for adults with a variety of intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Our Employment Connections Program aims to connect individuals with meaningful paid employment. Those participating in the program have goals to attain a job in their community, that fulfills their needs, abilities and desires.
We provide supports in the areas of job development, training, skill building and maintaining employment. When applicable, job coaches support individuals at their place of employment during their working hours to ensure tasks are accomplished and to teach valuable skills.
Family Supports Program
Our Family Supports Program works with families who still have their adult children living at home. Our Bridge Program provides care and coordination for children with intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder who are under the age of 18. We have case managers who work closely with families to ensure that individuals’ needs are met.
Services provided through our Family Supports Program include:
- Case Management: The case manager will provide care and support to the individual and their family.
- Bridge Program: This program offers assistance to those with children under the age of 22. Through case management, we help families determine what supports and services are needed.
- Targeted Case Management: This is a non-waivered program that provides service coordination and referrals, monitoring of these services, and advocacy when needed through gaining access to needed services and entitlements in the community.
- Family Managed Respite: This program is for those under the age of 22, whose family cares for a child with a disability and requires a much needed break or to attend to their own needs, a family crisis situation, or used for a break from normal routine for a child.
- Flexible Family Funding: This program offers a one time financial support (per fiscal year) to families of individuals with developmental disabilities who qualify to enhance their ability to live together.
Residential Group Homes
Our residential services are designed to provide living arrangements that meet each individual’s specific needs and includes individual, group and shared living. We have three group homes licensed by the State of Vermont Department of Aging and Disabilities.
Each resident is supported to maximize their growth and independence while being treated with respect, dignity and consideration. Each resident has their own private bedroom and the ability to make choices regarding their care and their home. They have every right and opportunity to make decisions in all aspect of their lives with varied levels of support along the way.
Our Shared Living Program offers individualized home support with a contracted provider for an individual diagnosed with an intellectual disability and /or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Typically, the home provider is responsible for the care of the individual 24/7; although a respite budget is also provided to give the home provider breaks. The home provider is compensated with a monthly tax-free stipend in addition to a room and board payment from the individual. Services offered through this program include case management and may include Community Supports and Employment Connections.
UCS Shared Living is seeking individuals, couples and families who reside in Bennington County, or in nearby towns in New York and Massachusetts, to provide caring homes, or be a roommate, for individuals with developmental disabilities. We have some individuals who have been in the same home for over 25 years! Bringing someone with a disability into your home is extremely rewarding and fulfilling for both you and the individual you would support. And, UCS will help you every step of the way.
Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP)
Our Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP) team works to support, encourage and teach independence in all areas of daily life to adults with intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Direct Support staff work closely with the Case Manager, the Program Manager and the Program Coordinator to provide supports and quality services. Adults that are prepared to live independently with recurrent supports based on their needs are encouraged to explore this progressive opportunity.
Developmental Services for Children
Disability services at UCS are largely structured to meet the needs of adults with disabilities but respite and case management are services within the DS Division that we do extend to children. The Youth and Family Services Division of UCS can also help meet the needs of children with disabilities through clinical supports and after-school programs. In addition, UCS offers the following services to children with disabilities and their parents:
Bridge Program: This program offers assistance to those with children under the age of 22. Through case management, we help families determine what supports and services are needed and can assist with connecting families to other resources within the community.
Family Managed Respite: This program is for those under the age of 21, whose family cares for a child with a disability. FMR allows for much needed breaks from regular care-giving and allows family members to attend to their own needs or family crisis situations. Parents or guardians become the employer and hire support workers to meet these needs.
Flexible Family Funding: This program offers one-time financial support (per fiscal year) to families of individuals with developmental disabilities who qualify to enhance their ability to live together. Eligibility for FFF is based on income verification.
Children’s Personal Care: Our Case Managers can assess children to determine eligibility for this program which allows parents to manage a budget to hire support staff who can assist with personal care needs within the home.
NOTE: All of these programs require participants to meet eligibility criteria for Developmental Services in Vermont.
If you or someone you know would like more information or to apply for services, contact the DS Intake Coordinator, Karen Sousis at 802.442-5491 ext. 209.
“We have the pleasure of working with some of the most wonderful people in our community; people who can easily light up a room with just a smile. Our job is to support them as they improve their quality of life; however just spending time with them improves ours.” — Stephanie Shoff, DS Community Support Manager