PAS-Port for Change
Living at home in the community of your choice is a big part of the American Dream. For many older adults and people with disabilities, the only thing preventing them from fulfilling that dream is the need for assistance with one or more tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, or moving from a wheelchair to a bed.
Personal Assistance Services (PAS) can provide that assistance. PAS is a simple concept. One or more people assist a person with a disability to perform everyday tasks. Services are managed and directed by the person who uses them, in his or her own home. The service is sometimes called attendant care, personal care, chore service, respite, Medicaid Personal Care, or COPES. PAS must be controlled and directed by the person who uses the service. The services must be sufficient to support the users in a dignified, productive life in the community.
PAS users are the employer or boss of the individual providing assistance. PAS users are working for a system where:
- People who use PAS have safe, quality services from a system that is accountable to those that use the service.
- There is adequate funding in the state PAS system to ensure that users have the worker and services they need.
- The training curriculum for workers is based on what the PAS user needs and is created and presented by PAS users whenever possible.
- PAS is guided and directed by the choices, preferences, needs and desires of the individual who uses the service.
- People who use PAS have access to voluntary training about hiring and supervising employees, and how to manage their own services.
- People who use PAS have services that are flexible and available.
- Everyone has the right to fully participate in the community of their choice.
- State rules should allow people to use their PAS to assist with parenting tasks and assistance when looking for employment.
DRW has for many years provided the staff support for PAS-Port for Change, a group of personal assistance users who advocate for improvements in personal assistance services. DRW supports self-directed care, responsive to the choices of the individual.
DRW has opposed the cuts to personal assistance services made by the legislature, and continues to use legal action to prevent unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory application of service cuts.
In 2012, DRW closely monitored the proposed changes in personal assistance which would have mandated self-directed care for all users. DRW will continue to monitor changes proposed in the 2013 session, and will advocate for preserving individual choice in use of personal assistance services.
In 1994, DRW (then known as Washington Protection and Advocacy System) convened, in Seattle, a group of people with disabilities who use personal assistance services. The group represented people with a variety of disabilities from all over the state. Each person brought their life experience with personal assistance services to the discussion, what was going right and what was going wrong.
As a result of those meetings a steering committee for Project PAS-Port for Change was convened and continues to meet on a regular basis. PAS-Port for Change seeks to improve the quality, reliability and availability of personal assistance services.
PAS-Port for Change members organize an annual Independent Living Day Rally in Olympia and advocate at the state and local level. DRW provides staff support for the committee.