Tracy Butterfield, director of LifeSkills Supports for Community Living Program, recently joined forces with LifeSkills Adult Foster Care Program manager Leslie Barrett to talk about updates and existing needs in this noteworthy program.

Adult foster care is a LifeSkills program in which individuals, serving as independent contractors, open their homes to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Focusing on the person’s needs, they provide guidance, support and assistance.

“In reality, adult foster care is so much more than any simple definition could encompass,” Butterfield said. “It might involve helping someone with personal and medical care, teaching new skills, taking part in community events, developing relationships, working to further someone’s education or even pursue employment. The needs are as diverse and unique as each individual.”

Barrett said: “Not everyone in our program requires medical assistance. We have young and energetic individuals with diverse interests. So we really need providers of all ages and from all walks of life. Our people enjoy things like shopping, attending church, going to ball games, yard sales, gardening, dancing, fishing, bowling … the list is pretty endless. Much of being an adult foster care provider simply involves exploring and determining interests and contributing to people’s lives in ways that are important and meaningful to them.”

Butterfield and Barrett said that, because of COVID-19, there may not be as many job opportunities for someone seeking employment.

“We want to let people know that being an adult foster care provider can be a valuable career opportunity,” Barrett said. “We offer competitive, if not exceptional, compensation packages to our providers, allowing people to make a good living. These packages include different levels of compensation and relief options tailored to each provider’s preference and may include up to $2,800 per month plus $500 room and board paid by the participant.”

Barrett said: “It’s really a win/win. But let’s not forget about having the flexibility to work from home right now during this pandemic, while at the same time being able to make a big difference and help people in need.”

Butterfield emphasized that people who become providers are not alone.

“Each contractor has their own support system on call 24/7 to assist them, as needed. Actually, LifeSkills is unique in appointing adult foster care provider coordinators to each case. These coordinators help providers set up respite schedules, resolve transportation issues, meet with support teams and assist with any other challenges that might occur.”

While this program operates in all 10 counties in the Barren River region, the need for providers is greater in Butler, Logan and Warren counties at this time.

Barrett said the program could be an excellent fit for retired medical personnel.

“In some cases involving the aging population, our providers are actually keeping people out of nursing homes,” Barrett said. “If you have a certified nursing or certified medical assistance background, or are a retired physician or nurse and are looking for something meaningful to do, why not give this a try? We work super hard to make good, positive matches. You get to pick the person and they get to pick you. We want this to be a great fit and to be beneficial to both of you.”

If you are interested, reach out to Barrett at 270-901-5000, ext. 1228, or at lbarrett@lifeskills.com.

On May 10 at 10 a.m., there will be an informational Zoom meeting featuring details about becoming an adult foster care provider. Anyone interested should contact Barrett for a link to the meeting.

– Maureen Mahaney coordinates public information for LifeSkills Inc., a nonprofit, behavioral health care corporation that plans for and serves the people of southcentral Kentucky in three main areas: mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities. Her column appears monthly.