The state of New Jersey, consistent with a growing trend throughout the United States of America, has transitioned from a “systems” approach of service delivery to a person-centered approach that focuses on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as whole persons with goals, dreams and aspirations. This shift coincides with the state’s transition from a contract model to a fee-for-service model where participants (persons receiving services paid for by Medicaid through the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)) have full control over the services they receive as well as how, when and from which providers they receive those services.
There has been a multitude of webinars, listening sessions and educational material available to caregivers and families of individuals who deal with the various disabilities under the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) umbrella. Nevertheless, navigating the Department of Human Services and the Division of Developmental Disabilities is a daunting task.
Direct Support Services (defined here as services and care delivered by Aspire staff members directly to individuals dealing with physical, intellectual and/or developmental challenges for the purpose of increased independence in the community – e.g. Community Based Supports, Individual Supports, Community Inclusion, Respite Services) have historically been delivered by state-run institutions or community organizations contracted with DDD. A preset amount of dollars was awarded to a provider which would receive referrals from DDD to serve individuals who need all encompassing “residential” services. Those “residential” services usually meant living in a group home or supervised apartment, or another community setting (licensed or unlicensed). Under this new system, the choice of provider and the many types of services rests with the individual (and family). Individuals have control over every aspect of care. This makes Aspire Supports, an agency focused on delivering structured, person-centered, therapeutic and trauma-focused services to all the individuals it serves, a preferred agency for individuals and their families.
Additionally, connecting families and participants to needed services, before “fee-for-service” was the task and responsibility of the State of New Jersey. The state employed Case Managers, whose responsibilities ranged from coordination and monitoring services to advocacy. With the fee-for-service model was introduced the role of Support Coordinators. As explained in further details here, support coordinators now perform four (4) general functions: individual discovery, plan development, coordination of services and monitoring. Support Coordinators, contrary to Case Managers, are employed by the private sector, or more specifically agencies referred to as Support Coordination Agencies (SCA).
At a time when the state of New Jersey had tons of approved support coordination agencies, Aspire Supports (or Aspire Support Coordination, L.L.C., the original name) was not founded as another agency to help provide support service to the thousands of individuals who need this service. Aspire Supports was founded to fill a glaring void in the field of support coordination: the lack of passionately caring, deftly knowledgeable and highly committed Support Coordinators with experience dealing with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In early 2018, CEO and founder Karl J Venescar assembled a team of competent, caring and compassionate 'veterans' in the field of Health and Human services with one goal in mind: to create opportunities for all and independence in life regardless of diagnosed challenges. In a short period, Aspire Supports established itself as an agency that consistently goes beyond the "deliverables", one that shows that it is truly Committed to Community. Committed to You.
With great success in Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean and Union counties as a Support Coordination Agency -- as measured by the satisfaction of its participants and their families -- Aspire Supports moved to Sussex, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Gloucester counties to deliver community-based direct support services such as Community Inclusion, Individual Supports, Community Based Supports, Respite and Transportation. Our participants’ enjoy a vast array of experiences at home and in their communities, including prominent jobs in the communities, membership into diverse religious and community organizations. Aspire Supports’ most successful attribute has been its focus on not simply connecting individuals with needed services, but helping them make into reality dreams and aspiration they and their family members once thought unattainable.
Aspire Supports continues to work to also delivery its structured, person-centered, therapeutic and trauma-focused services in licensed settings (i.e. group homes, supervised apartments).