Vision of Personal Assistance Services in the Year 2001

This article is excerpted from ENVOY, December 1995/January 1996

The following vision was adopted PAS-Port participants on October 29 and finalized by the PAS-Port Steering Committee on November 15.

Person Directed

Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are guided and directed by the choices, preferences and expressed interests, needs and desires of the individual who uses the service.  PAS users may hire, train, and fire their own providers, or may use agency-provided services.

Broad Coverage

People of all ages receive PAS for functional limitations resulting from sensory, physical, cognitive, medical, mental health disabilities and the aging process.

Broad Scope of Services

PAS increase the individual’s control over his or her life and his or her full participation in the opportunities of community life.  PAS are individualized to the particular PAS user, and include but are not limited to personal care, sexuality, household tasks, child and infant care, money management, reading, communication, security enhancement, mobility, work-related support, hiring, management and scheduling of person assistants, assistive technology education, health-related tasks, recreation, advocacy and transportation.

Ample Service Availability

There is an adequate supply of PAS providers, regardless of disability type, arranged into regional resource pools.  PAS is provided in home, to include communal living situations, at work at business, in school, in homeless shelters, in the community, in church, and for recreation.  PAS is readily available on a permanent, temporary or emergency basis.

Stakeholder-Directed Service

PAS stakeholders (PAS users, their representatives, family members, advocates, and providers) develop, set polity and/or procedures at the individual, agency and policy-making levels.  PAS users design and assist in providing the basic curriculum for training personal assistants.  PAS stakeholders operate agencies which provide services.  PAS stakeholders comprise at least 51% of policy-making bodies and governing boards which direct PAS.  Training materials are available in alternative formats.

Effective Access to Services

The funding and provider agencies are responsive and respectful of PAS users and providers.  Through active outreach potential PAS users are provided with barrier-free information and assistance ton recruiting, screening, referring and managing personal assistants.  There is a simple, efficient application and eligibility determination process for PAS.  Funding and provider agency decisions regarding access to PAS services, including subcontracts, are subject to review through a simple, fair process.

Adequate Funding

There is stable, consistent funding for PAS.  Existing dollars are shifted from institutions to more cost-effective, home-based PAS.

Equitable Provider Compensation

Personal assistants can access a career ladder and receive competitive and dignified wages, in a timely manner, and benefits, which include health and dental insurance, sick and annual leave, FICA, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance.  Personal assistants are provided incentives and support for accessing continuing education and training.

Skilled Providers

Personal assistants are well-trained and career-oriented, and accept training and direction from the PAS user.  Personal assistants are trained to be sensitive to the custom’s beliefs, and culture of those who use their services.  There is an adequate supply of providers who know American Sign Language and other languages.

Accountable System

There is an effective and consumer-driven system of quality assurance applied to every aspect of service provision.  There is a system of protection and advocacy to ensure against abuse and neglect of PAS users and providers.  PAS providers are bonded, insured and subject to an international criminal background check.


PAS is an entitlement based on functional need as jointly determined by the PAS user and the state.  All persons with disabilities eligible for PAS are treated equally under the law.


ENVOY Credits

ENVOY Editor:  Nicole Elger
ENVOY Editorial Assistant:  Annaliza Torres
ENVOY Staff Contributors:   Laura Allen, Elizabeth Ambrose, Randy Brown, Deborah Dorfman, Marie Jensen, David Lord, Sandy Macdonald, Gillian Maguire, Betty Schwieterman,  Michael J. Smith,  Mark Stroh, Thomaszine Weathersby

ENVOY is the newsletter of Disability Rights Washington, a private, nonprofit agency that has been protecting the rights of people with disabilities since 1972. DRW is a member of the National Disability Rights Network. Eligibility for DRW services is determined by federal law. Contact DRW if you would like more information about current priorities and available services.

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