Independent Facilitation is an ongoing process that supports people to think about, plan for, and create the lives they want as full citizens in their neighbourhoods and communities.
Through meetings over time, people and their families are supported to imagine possibilities, make their own choices, and take steps toward creating a meaningful life.
Independent Facilitation recognizes the value of all people as citizens who are afforded the same rights and responsibilities. People living with developmental disabilities need freedom, choice, and control in their lives, just like any other citizen.
When people experience true citizenship, they are supported to find jobs, go to school, and volunteer; contribute and share their gifts with others; and belong as valued members of their neighbourhoods and communities.
The Ontario Independent Facilitation Network envisions a new framework for Developmental Services that affords people the freedoms, responsibilities, and opportunities to live rich, meaningful lives. Independent Facilitation is one part of this Framework for an Ordinary, Everyday Life, which brings different functions together to support people with disabilities to experience social inclusion and equal opportunities.
Click the image to open The Citizen-focused Framework in a new window.
Independent Facilitation offered by Brokerage is rooted in the principles of self-determination, making our work different from the services and programs offered by other developmental services agencies.
Brokerage facilitators support all people to experience:
Freedom: to make their own choices and live a meaningful life in their neighbourhoods and communities.
Authority: over funding and the purchasing of supports.
Support: to organize resources in ways that support the person’s vision for a meaningful life.
Responsibility: to identify, build, and use their gifts to contribute to the greater good.
Confirmation: of the importance of every person as a leader with unique abilities.
People, along with their loved ones, are decision-makers in their own lives. Independent Facilitation supports people to have choice and control over how their life unfolds.
When you and your family set up meetings with a Brokerage facilitator, you can expect to share in conversations about your dreams, likes, ideas for the future, and much more.
An independent facilitator will “walk” with you
as you follow your own unique path into the future.
A facilitator can assist you to:
Think about all the possible roles we each play in our lives – friend, employee, student, athlete, volunteer, and more.
Figure out how you want to be part of your neighbourhood and community and look for places where you can make connections, share your gifts, and learn.
Think about and find the supports you need to move forward and realize your dreams and goals.
ARE THE DIRECTOR!
Your facilitator will work at your pace.
Some people meet with a facilitator as often as every week, and others meet only a few times a year.
The number of times you and your loved ones choose to meet with a facilitator may change over time, depending on your goals and what is happening in your life.
Independent facilitators work in the mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends, to meet at times that are easiest for people and their families.
In 2017-2018, Brokerage and other Independent Facilitation Organizations across Ontario contributed to work led by the Ontario Independent Facilitation Network to clarify the role of Independent Facilitation.
As a result, five key areas were identified to describe the support that Independent Facilitation offers to people and families.
In 2020, further work by OIFN to expand on learnings led to the development of OIFN’s Scope of Practice of Independent Facilitation, which explores the the purpose, guiding principles, and work of Independent Facilitation, offering an in-depth look at what it takes and what it means to assist people with disabilities to figure out and build an ordinary, everyday life.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.”
– Marcel Proust
An important piece of the work of Independent Facilitation is assisting people to build and maintain strong, trusting, and reciprocal relationships with others.
A facilitator can support you to:
Have a better relationship with yourself and clarify your wants and needs.
Strengthen your relationships with family and friends and find ways to voice what you want, even when this may be different from what others want for you.
Make new relationships and grow your relationships with neighbours and community members.
Connect with helpful supports, agencies, and systems.
Support Network Development
Networks of Support make a difference
because they are based on caring which is freely given.
Every person needs help sometimes to make decisions or to get things done. A big piece of work in Independent Facilitation is helping you to create a Support Circle or Network of Support. A support network is made up of the people who you trust and who care about you.
The people in your support network help you to make your own decisions and work toward your goals and dreams. They can:
Help you think of ideas.
Share information so you can make decisions about your life.
Celebrate with you.
Be there during difficult times.
Make sure you are safe and secure.
Help you with things that are personal or private, such as Will and Estate Planning, investing in an RDSP, etc.
Your facilitator can assist you to choose who you want to invite to be part of your support network, such as parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours, and others.
Community Discovery and Connection
Independent Facilitation recognizes the value of natural connections in neighbourhood and community. Community is seen as a first resource for sharing, participating, and contributing. Our neighbourhoods are full of rich possibilities; there are many people and places that can help all citizens to build meaningful, everyday, ordinary lives.
Your facilitator can work with you to explore opportunities in your neighbourhood and community, such as:
“What we find changes who we become.”
― Peter Morville
People and families have told us that Brokerage is a key place to get good information that is personalized, accurate, and can help you to move forward with confidence. We can help you to learn more about:
Citizenship: what does it mean to belong in your neighbourhood and community?
Lifestyle options: are you living where you want and doing things that are meaningful and important to you?
Different resources: Who do you want in your life? Where can you go to share your gifts? What supports can help you in your journey?
Historically, brokering has always been another crucial element of Brokerage’s work.
Independent facilitators can assist with the formal and informal agreements for services.
This means that your facilitator can review support options with you and meet with you and the support providers of your choice to tailor services to meet your needs.
An independent facilitator can support you to become “the planner” of your life by talking about your dreams, the assistance that you want, and where in your neighbourhood and community you can find it.
Planning happens in a lot of different ways – both formal and informal.
At certain times, you and your family members may choose to make a record of your actions, decisions, and next steps in a document with writing or pictures.
Often times, you may find that planning happens through conversations with your facilitator and loved ones. As we all move through our lives, there is not always time or a need to write down all of our actions and decisions, especially since our plans can change and evolve very quickly.
The plans you make with the support of your facilitator and your loved ones lead to action. A facilitator can help you think about:
what will happen
when it will happen
how it will happen
who will support the action
what will happen next
As you take next steps in your plan, you may find that your ideas change over time. A facilitator makes sure that there is regular and ongoing review and reflection with you and your loved ones, so that your conversations and next steps always reflects your current dreams.
Requests for person-directed planning funded by MCCSS for adults who are 18 years of age and older must go through the Developmental Services Ontario Office (DSO). This type of request must be initiated by the person and/or their family and friends.
The DSO forwards referrals in Windsor and Essex county to Brokerage. Please know that Brokerage has limited capacity, and the DSO may add you to a wait list.