What Is A Center For Independent Living?
A CIL is a private, non-profit consumer-controlled entity which provides non-residential and non-medical Independent Living Services for people of all ages with all types of disabilities.
Consumer-Controlled means that over 51 % of the Board of Directors and staff at CILS are people with disabilities.
Every Center for Independent Living has Five Core Services that it offers. These services are Information and Referral, Peer Support, and Systems Advocacy, Independent Living Skills Training, Nursing Home Transition and Youth Transition.
1. Information and Referral gives people access to the information and resources they need to make informed choices and receive what they need to live independently.
2. Peer support services are given by individuals who have common life experiences with the people they are serving. People with disabilities have a unique capacity to help each other based on a shared affiliation and a deep understanding by experience of going thru it themselves.
3. Individual Advocacy is working to remove the barriers to independent living and the encouragement of full inclusion in all aspects of community life. Sometimes Centers will advocate for the rights of one person in his or her own community. Sometimes Centers work to achieve change that will benefit thousands or even millions of persons with disabilities all over the state or the nation. This kind of systems change is often achieved through legislative and regulatory advocacy.
*Systems advocacy focuses on barrier removal and equal access to society.
Peer support is providing the opportunity for people to learn and grow by discussing their needs, concerns and issues with people who have had similar experiences. Sometimes staff will provide the peer support, sometimes individuals will receive their support from another person in the community, and sometimes they will take part in a support group.
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4. Independent living skills training helps individuals acquire the skills they need to live. Often it will include teaching people how to employ and manage personal assistants, or care for physical needs related to their disability, or how to communicate effectively. Who better than another person with a disability to show someone the “tricks of the trade?”
5. Nursing Home Transition – The process of assisting people to move from a nursing home, care home or institution back to the community, if that is what they desire. NHT begins with identifying nursing facility residents who wish to return to the community. The program supports potential consumers by coordinating services associated with assisting them to remain in the community.
* Youth Transition – Youth Transition services are activities that prepare students with disabilities to move from school to post-school life which can include college, job training, housing, transportation, budgeting and financial management.