The Arc of the Capital Area’s Family and Juvenile Transition Services make sure that individuals can keep their spirits alive in spite of any personal sacrifices they must make while caring for their loved ones. The Arc provides services that ensure that parents of children with developmental disabilities have access to essential information and support. We enable parents to develop and strengthen their caregiving skills, reduce their isolation, and decrease their stress levels. The Arc of the Capital Area’s programs support parent and caretaker efforts to keep children at home, in school, and functioning within their community.
The following services are offered at minimal or no cost: Mentoring and advocacy, special education assistance, transition supports during critical life stages, basic needs and crisis assistance, and guardianship.
Juvenile Justice Services
Juvenile Justice Services works directly with the local education system to provide case management, advocacy, and support to juveniles ages 11-17 who are diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability and are involved in, or are at risk of becoming involved in, the criminal justice system.
These students are often victims of peer pressure and bullying. Their behaviors and actions are often misunderstood due to their disabilities. They may not understand that stealing is wrong or that hitting hurts. They may be attracted to gangs, who offer them a peer group they have never experienced. When left to continue these actions, they are at risk of getting involved in more severe behavior that can eventually lead to arrest.
The Arc of the Capital Area believes that a community-based prevention program that meets the needs of Austin’s at-risk youth with developmental disabilities is essential. The goal of the program is to reduce or prevent recidivism in criminal matters and to provide necessary support for at-risk youth to remain in school, reach graduation, and gain successful employment. We take action by providing education within the home and help locating community support.
For those who have already become involved in the system, we help them meet the terms of their probation and avoid any further criminal activities. In addition, The Arc of the Capital Area provides advocacy by accompanying families to court to ensure that the families understand the proceedings and to educate the court on how the child’s disability may have played a part in the behavior relating to the charges.
Our goal is to reduce the number of troubled youth in the Central Texas juvenile justice system as well as to reduce the extremely high dropout rate for teenagers with developmental disabilities.
Alternatives to Guardianship
As defined by the Texas Probate Code, guardianship is a legal process used to provide protection for adults who are incapacitated. The Probate Code defines an incapacitated person as: “An adult individual who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter to himself or herself, to care for the individual’s own physical health, or to manage the individual’s own financial affairs.” The Arc of the Capital Area, along with The Arc of Texas and The Arc of the United States, believe that the majority of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) can manage their own affairs with informal assistance and guidance and do not need a guardian. People with IDD can be supported in many ways to make their own decisions without taking away their rights through a guardianship. Learn more about alternatives to guardianship by reading the documents below. Each of the documents is provided in three formats: For Families, For Self-Advocates, and For Self-Advocates with Dyslexia. In addition, each of these documents are available in English and Spanish.
Cited by The Arc of Texas
Want more information on alternatives to guardianship?
Give us a call.
Director of Contracted Services and Quality Assurance
512.476.7044, ext. 207
While most adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can manage their personal and financial affairs with informal assistance and guidance from family and friends, others need legal protection. Cost prevents most low-income families from obtaining the legal counsel they need to establish guardianship of their child once they reach adulthood.
Without guardianship, individuals with disabilities could be left financially, medically, and legally responsible for actions they may not understand or intend to happen. For instance, such individuals may be persuaded to sign a lease on a car or home without fully understanding the consequences or financial obligation. Decision-making ability regarding medical care may also be impossible for some people with disabilities. Without a legal guardian, they are often vulnerable to inadequate or misdirected medical procedures. For example, a parent may be restricted from making decisions pertaining to the medical needs of their loved one with a disability once they reach age 18.
With support from the Travis County Probate Court and local attorneys providing pro bono assistance, The Arc of the Capital Area staff assists families in completing court-required documents while coordinating and attending meetings between prospective guardians, pro bono attorneys, and the bonding company. Prospective guardians participate in a series of workshops led by The Arc and legal experts to educate them on guardianship requirements in preparation for their court appearances.
Do I qualify?
Clients must have a developmental disability or a child with a developmental disability and reside in Travis County.
Note: We are currently working to expand our Guardianship program to include Williamson county, but do not serve individuals outside of Travis County at this time. For guardianship services in Williamson County, contact Sharrion Threadgill, Williamson County Probate Court Coordinator, at 512.943.1681.
Is there a charge?
Please call The Arc of the Capital Area at 512. 476.7044 for income eligibility standards and related fees.
When should I start thinking about guardianship support?
It is recommended that people/parents desiring to obtain guardianship begin researching the requirements near the child’s 16th birthday. Early preparation helps potential guardians as they enter the process. The Arc of the Capital Area’s guardianship services are available when the child is 18 years of age or older.
How do I get on the waiting list?
Persons who are interested in participating in The Arc of the Capital Area’s Guardianship program should contact The Arc of the Capital Area at 512. 476.7044.
What happens after I am placed on the waiting list?
Each year, applicants are invited to participate based on the order of the interest list and the potential ward’s birth date. At this time, applicants are asked to submit proof of household income in order to determine program eligibility. Participants are given a schedule of monthly workshops to be held in preparation for their guardianship hearings.
Educational Advocacy Sevices
The Arc of the Capital Area’s Educational Advocacy program provides short-term Special Education advocacy and support to elementary, middle and high school students diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability, and their families. Our educational advocates work with students, their families and the personnel at the student’s school to help them succeed, and to empower parents and families to learn to navigate the Special Education system and be better able to support their children throughout their education. Services are available in English and Spanish.
- Attend and advocate for the student and their family at up to two Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) and Manifestation Determination (MD) meetings
- Review the student’s Special Education plan to ensure that he or she is in the most appropriate educational setting
- Assist in development/modification of client’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
- Educate guardians about their rights within the Special Education system
Home Based Support
- Make up to two home visits to work with families on their own time, to read and review the student’s IEP and BIP and ensure that they agree with the child’s education plan
- Work with parents to identify and suggest modifications to education plans, if necessary
For more information visit www.arcaustin.org or contact us at 512-476-7044
Family Support Cooperative
Special Education Assistance & Family Support Cooperative
Specialty support groups and educational workshops are a collaborative consortium between Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC), Austin Independent School District (AISD), Easter Seals of Central Texas, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, and The Arc of the Capital Area. These groups and workshops provide education and disability focused training for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities.
For more information on all Family & Juvenile Transition Services contact:
Director of Contracted Services and Quality Assurance
512.476.7044, ext. 207