Cares of Washington Programs
Programs and services include:
1) Employment Services - Assessment, Training, Placement, Retention and Advancement: Cares works one on one with clients to identify their interests, enhance their skills, and clear hurdles that have previously prevented employment.
2) Self Sufficiency and Life Skills Development - Financial Education, Social Skills, Counseling, Coaching, and Family Management: We work with clients to develop coping skills that will enable them to stay on track and achieve their goals, even as new challenges arise.
3) Referral Services - Benefits, Housing, Child Care, Transportation and access to Social Services: Government assistance is not a substitute for economic self-sufficiency, but access to support can create the foundation necessary for long term independence.
Our programs are designed to increase both professional skills and personal resiliency – key components to any strategy designed to reduce poverty and increase economic wellbeing. Our clients work one on one with an advancement specialist, to identify assets and needs, as well as how to best use current resources. They create a realistic career plan based on interests, abilities, and financial responsibilities. Cares’ advancement specialists advocate for our clients with employers, government agencies and other social service organizations, which increases the likelihood that our clients are able to meet their basic needs and stay employed while overcoming personal setbacks.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Becky’s son, who has a severe developmental disability, has been a part of Cares’ Employment program for just over a year, during which he has been successfully placed, and continues to thrive, in a fulfilling job.
“Cares visits my son at his workplace once a week, to check on his progress and act as his advocate, and go-between, with the store manager. When he first started working, his coach recognized that the job assigned to him was not appropriate for his capabilities. So she worked alongside my son for a couple of months until she was able to secure another role for him that he could carry out independently. Cares has been supportive and professional, and even if things don’t work out at first, Cares persists until they do!”
Like many nonprofit organizations, Cares of Washington has been adversely impacted by the economic downturn. In particular, drastic cuts to the public programs that have traditionally funded our employment and self sufficiency programs, now threaten our ability to achieve our mission. Washington State’s Developmental Disability Department is projecting that funding for employment services for disabled adults will be cut by 20-40% in 2012.
To ensure the sustainability of Care’s programs – and to ensure that programs can continue to be delivered in way that achieves results – Cares must diversify revenue to include private individual and institutional donors as well as earned income from local employers.