Families First awarded grant from Central Indiana Senior Fund to support clients in Older and Challenged Adult guardianship and independent living support services (OCA) program.

Published: December 21, 2018

Media Contact

Chelsea Beauchamp; Marketing Manager

317-644-4322 Chelseab@familiesfirstindiana.org

Indianapolis (December 20, 2018)—Families First has been awarded a $35,000 grant from the Central Indiana Senior Fund, a CICF fund. This grant will support up to 80 clients in Families First’s Older and Challenged Adult guardianship and independent living support services (OCA) program.

The Central Indiana Senior Fund grant is enormously helpful in ensuring that Families First meets the 20% required match for a VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant that it received in October. The VOCA grant provides funds from the federal Crime Victims Fund. These funds are awarded by the State to local community-based organizations that provide direct services to crime victims. More than half of current OCA program clients have been victims of some type of crime as adults--most frequently financial exploitation, but also physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. This much-needed funding will help First Families sustain their commitment to protect the independence and well-being of older and challenged adults, and to ensure that their needs are being appropriately met.

The overall goals of the OCA program are to ensure safe and appropriate housing; an adequate supply of nutritious food; hygienic living conditions; protection from exploitation and mismanagement of their limited resources; regular, timely health care; access to all relevant benefits and community resources; and the maximum possible degree of independence and quality of life.

OCA offers a continuum of home and community-based care for adults and seniors with disabilities (intellectual/developmental disability, chronic mental illness, or other cognitive impairment). The adults served in the OCA program are very low-income and lack reliable, trustworthy support from family members or others to help them with daily living tasks. In some cases, their family members are overburdened, estranged, or live far away; in other cases, the family members are abusing or exploiting them. Some adults in the program are self-neglectful—failing to obtain needed health care, misusing medication, or suffering from poor nutrition and hygiene habits. Many experience depression and anxiety related to declining health, physical challenges, the loss of friends and loved ones, and limitations in social functioning or activities of daily living. Most have difficulties in managing their personal affairs and making decisions in their own best interest; thus, they are easy targets for financial exploitation, predatory business practices, undue influence, victimization, and mistreatment. Without support services, their ability to live independently in the community would be very tenuous, as these challenges put them at high risk of eviction, mortgage foreclosure, homelessness, and premature institutionalization.

Unfortunately, due to the limited availability of third-party reimbursement for OCA services and the minimal service fees generated from serving primarily low-income clients, operating the OCA program draws upon a significant portion of Families First’s discretionary funds. These private and public grants will only partially cover the nearly $500,000 anticipated program expenses in 2019. Philanthropic support ensures OCA services remain available to serve the rising tide of endangered older and challenged adults in our community who have nowhere else to turn for protection and support.

To learn more about Families First Older and Challenged adult guardianship and independent living support services, or to inquire about individual and family volunteer opportunities with the program, contact Families First at 317-634-6341.

About Families First

On Thanksgiving Day, 1835, James Blake, Calvin Fletcher, and other Indianapolis leaders formed an organization to strengthen family life. For more than 180 years, Families First has helped individuals, couples, and families who struggle with life’s challenges and changes. Families First provides education, support, and counseling for those who need care, hope, and guidance - for everyday life or in times of crisis.

Families First is partially funded by the United Way of Central Indiana and is fully accredited by the national Council on Accreditation (COA), attesting that it meets the highest standards of professional performance. For more information, please visit www.familiesfirstindiana.org.