New program creates family-friendly way to access additional funding assistance

Summit DD believes we are a community built by the abilities of ALL citizens. We want your family to have access to and engage with your community – in the way you choose. Because families should have the opportunity to choose which services or supports are important to them, we’ve created a new program called the Family Engagement Program. This program reflects what you want from us, an easy and simple way to access funding for additional disability programs or services that you choose.

What is the Family Engagement Program?

The Family Engagement Program takes the best from our former Family Support Services (FSS) and Summer Camp programs and makes it easier for families to use and access funds for assistance. The program uses local dollars to fund services and supports so that FSS funds, allocated by the state, can now be used as a match for Waivers.

“We are excited to roll out this new program to families,” shared Director of Service & Support Administration and Children’s Services, Holly Brugh. “Not only does this make things simpler for families, it aligns more closely with our mission of inclusion and provides options for families.”

The Family Engagement Program was developed to promote inclusion for children and young adults between the ages of 0-22 who are eligible for Summit DD services, live at home with a parent or guardian, and do not have waiver funding.  The Family Engagement Program, administered through Northeast Ohio Network Council of Governments, is a payer of last resort program, which means that it is available for use when services or supports cannot be paid for by the family or through common funding sources like Waivers.  Services and supports eligible under this program include: summer camps, respite care, transportation, environmental adaptations, adaptive equipment, community classes, and specialized supplies to name a few. Please note these funds cannot be used for every day expenses and are not meant to replace a family’s obligation to provide typical supplies or services.

How does the program work?

The process for the Family Engagement Program is simple. The program is not income based and does not require families to fill out an application. You simply contact your Summit DD SSA, Referral & Support Specialist, Developmental Specialist or other Summit DD staff member that you connect with on a regular basis, and they will assist you through the process and submit your request.

Best of all, if your request meets the requirements of the program, funds will be deposited directly into your family’s checking or savings account prior to purchasing the service or equipment!

“It can be difficult for families to find the money to pay for services or equipment and then get reimbursed,” explained Brugh. “This process takes the burden off families to come up with that money ahead of time.”

Working with your Summit DD staff member, families submit a brief description and cost for the item or service requested. Once approved, the funds will be transferred directly into your checking or savings account. You then pay for the service or item and send a copy of the receipt to Summit DD within 10 days of payment. It’s important to note that receipts are required in order to remain eligible for future funding.

Family Engagement funds are meant to serve as additional support to individuals eligible for Summit DD services and will be allocated based on each family’s needs, situation and the program funding up to a maximum of $2,000 per year. Funds can be requested and used all at once for larger projects, or requested and dispersed in smaller increments over the course of the year for smaller items or services. Family Engagement Program funds are available each calendar year beginning January 1, 2017.

“We want families to reach out to their SSAs, Developmental Specialists or Referral Support Specialists to find out how this program can benefit them,” encouraged Brugh. “The more children and young adults with disabilities engage in their communities, the more relationships they develop, and ultimately – the better our communities become.”


Need your SSA’s contact info? Check out our How to Contact Your SSA blog at or contact us.

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