What does the LifeNet program provide?
LifeNet offers caring support for an adult on the spectrum across those areas of life where they need help, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy and safe living environment in their apartment or home
- Arranging and keeping healthcare and dental appointments
- Managing budgets, bills and money
- Tending to nutrition, food safety, exercise and hygiene
- Engaging socially – around their interests and at their pace
- Encouraging productive employment and/or volunteer opportunities
- Offering transportation and travel guidance, and more
Overall, the LifeNet Team offers personal support and advocacy, just like a parent would provide:
- Regular phone/text check-ins and in-person visits
- Responsiveness to questions or issues as they arise
- Monitoring and responding to changes in well-being
- Assessing options and supporting good decision-making
- Addressing unmet needs, and making progress toward personal goals
- Coordination between providers, trustees and others in the adult’s support network
- Help completing forms/paperwork and meeting deadlines
Who’s on the LifeNet Team?
More than just a single caseworker, each adult’s LifeNet Team consists of an array of people who have experience in understanding and meeting the needs of adults on the autism spectrum:
- Personal Advocate – licensed social work case manager
- Support Partner – field-based support staff
- Licensed Clinical Supervisor – licensed clinical social work supervisor
- LifeNet Program Director – overall administrator and ombudsman
- Host Family – volunteer local family who shares meals and companionship with a LifeNet adult
- Peer/Friend – a similar-age adult peer matched from within the AANE community
Together, the LifeNet Team serves as a surrogate family – or ‘safety net’ – of professionals and volunteers who develop relationships with and care for the adult, offering them a greater sense of community and belonging.
Who’s eligible for the LifeNet program?
To ensure we can meet the needs of all LifeNet clients who enroll in this new program, we’re developing specific eligibility criteria to guide us, including:
- Geography: adult lives within ~1 hour drive from AANE’s offices in Watertown
- Age: adults 25+ (will consider younger adults if they are otherwise eligible)
- Diagnosis: Asperger or similar autism spectrum profile
- Co-occurring conditions (e.g. severe mental health issues): will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis
- Level of need: adult should be able to live independently with support
- Willingness: must be open to receiving support from the LifeNet team
- Client/family resources to fund program: see tiers and fees immediately below
What are the different tiers of LifeNet service, and how much do they cost?
Based on individual needs, resources, preferences, family involvement and other factors, eligible adults/families would be able to register for one of the three levels of LifeNet service:
Tier 1 (‘Comprehensive’ level): The top level of LifeNet service for adults and their parents who want or need to activate the full support team structure now, given their age, health status, geographic distance or other factors. Comprehensive offers the most time and frequency of interactions between the adult client and their LifeNet Team members.
- Cost: $20,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $2,000
Tier 2 (‘Basic’ level): A middle level of LifeNet service for those who need less time and support at this stage of the adult’s life than the Comprehensive level, but who want to put the support team in place now for a gradual transition in the coming years.
- Cost: $10,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $1,000
Tier 3 (‘Introductory’ level): An entry level of LifeNet service, with less frequent interactions than the Comprehensive and Basic tiers, for those who want to begin establishing new support relationships for their adult child now, with an eye toward moving to a higher level of service if and when needed in the future.
- Cost: $5,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $500
Clients will have the ability to move between tiers as their needs change.
Note: In order for AANE to cover our costs and launch this program in a financially sustainable way, there would be no financial aid available at the outset. However, once launched, we will explore every avenue to make this program accessible to all those who qualify, regardless of income or assets.