Young boy using a walker, standing on accessible ramp purchased through Family Engagement Program funds.

Summit DD’s Family Engagement Program has Big Benefits for Local Families

In 2017, Summit DD launched a new program for children and teens we serve. This program, called the Family Engagement Program (FEP), was created to help kids, teens and young adults gain more access to the community around them. Last year, 747 families accessed FEP funding to support their children’s needs.

What is Summit DD’s Family Engagement Program?

The Family Engagement Program is available to individuals eligible for Summit DD services who are between the ages of 0-22. Individuals must be living at home with a parent or guardian, and who do not have waiver funding. (See the 2023 Family Engagement Program criteria.) Thanks to local levy dollars, families can request funds that can be used for a number of items or services, such as local camps, clubs or classes, respite services, or even safety, sensory or adaptive equipment. (For more information about FEP guidelines and eligibility, please contact your RSS or SSA.)

FEP’s impact on local families

One local family expressed their appreciation for the program. Cassie’s son, Austin, has accessed the FEP funds to better connect him to his environment and community. “Summit DD has been so helpful to my family,” Cassie said. “We have received funding for so many things that have improved the life of my son, including a home ramp, accessible pool ladder, and adaptive shoes. This program is so essential to us, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

While Summit DD has always connected children, teens and adults to services to meet their daily needs, this program was created to help young people foster a stronger connection to their environment and the community around them, leading to a more fulfilling life.

“This program goes beyond standard services that people need. It connects families to their community,” explained SSA Senior Manager, Jennie Petrarca. “It has a tangible, positive impact on families.” Petrarca went on to explain an added benefit of the program. “Not only do families feel connected, but the majority of money is filtered back into our local community.”

Another family has seen the impact this locally funded program has provided their son over the past few years. Mom, Amy, praised the program. “We were introduced to the FEP funds when compression wear was recommended,” she shared. “Daily compression wear is definitely an investment, and our family was so grateful that we could use FEP funds to provide this valuable sensory wear for our son!” Over several years, Amy’s family has been able to access additional FEP funding for her son’s sensory needs, swimming lessons, and even reading classes.

Find out how FEP may be able to help your family

Since its inception, Summit DD’s Family Engagement Program has provided funding to approximately 2,000 families, ensuring that children can be included in their communities. For more information about FEP guidelines and eligibility, please contact your RSS or SSA.

“Our family is so grateful that FEP funds have provided us an opportunity to enrich our child’s life in ways that will have a lasting impact on his growth and development,” Amy said appreciatively. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping our beloved son continue to thrive!”

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