Alternatives Inc - dignity through independence
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Frequently Asked Questions
What age group does Alternatives serve?
Primarily, Alternatives serves adults. For clients in programs for mental health or homelessness, the minimum age is 18. For clients who are referred by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, the minimum age is 21. However, the agency does have certain programs such as Franklin House, The Parenting Program, The Emergency Capacity Program and Transition Services that cater to more specific populations.

What is a developmental disability?
A Developmental Disability is defined as a severe, chronic physical and/or mental impairment that:
  • manifests in the developmental years, before age 22.

  • is life-long, and substantially limits the person in at least three of the following life activities: self-care, learning, mobility, communication, self-direction, economic self sufficiency and the ability to live independently.
Some diagnoses that might be considered a developmental disability include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida, autism or a neurological impairment.

What are Special Needs?
"Special Needs" refers to people who may have a wide range of barriers. These barriers can include those who have learning disabilities, mental illness, homelessness, some type of physical disability or someone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing. While everyone is unique, Alternatives address "special needs" on an individualized basis.

Does Alternatives have residential programs?
Alternatives offers a range of services, including residential programs, designed to address each person’s strengths, needs, and goals for the future. Residential options include: Group Homes, Supervised Apartments, Supportive Housing, and Supportive Living Programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Clients who are homeless or have a mental health diagnosis are offered Transitional or Permanent supportive housing or they live independently in the community.

What is the difference between supervised and supportive housing?
Supervised housing requires on-site staff monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Supportive housing and community living programs provide support to clients off-site based on individual need.

Does Alternatives have an employment or day program?
Alternatives’ affiliate, Bridges to Employment works with clients with a broad range of special needs to offer career planning, placement and follow-along. Those who are not working or seeking training often attend occupational training centers or partial care programs within the community.

Does Alternatives Provide Therapy?
While we do not provide psychiatric therapy in the traditional sense, our Licensed and Certified Counselors, Behavior Analysts and Clinicians provide supportive counseling, assist clients with behavioral issues, emotional disturbances, substance abuse or a combination of issues. They work closely with all members of the client’s staff to ensure consistent and confidential implementation of any solutions developed.

Can interested parties visit a program prior to placement?
A tour can be arranged of a program that would be similar to the type of program appropriate for you or your family member.

How does a person receive services from Alternatives?
Alternatives clients are referred to the agency from a number of sources including the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, Somerset County Board of Social Services, the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, hospitals, community agencies, shelters and family members and friends. The referral source is dependent upon the individual’s disability, but it should be noted that ALL INDIVIDUALS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES WHO ARE SEEKING SERVICES MUST FIRST BE REGISTERED AND HAVE A CASE MANAGER WITH THE DIVISION OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

How do I qualify for a mental health program?
Individuals must have a mental health (AXIS I) diagnosis including but not limited to: mood disorders, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia. If you have questions about your diagnosis, contact your mental health provider.

Does Alternatives Provide Financial Assistance?
As an agency, Alternatives does not provide direct financial support. All assistance is provided by the appropriate external agency. Resources can be found on our links page or by contacting us.

How are Alternatives’ Programs Funded?
Alternatives programs are funded from a myriad of different sources including: NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, NJ Division of Mental Health Services, NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, NJ Dept. of Community Affairs – Division of Housing, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Somerset County Board of Human Services, United Way of Somerset County, private contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals.

Copyright © Alternatives, Inc., 2009. All Rights Reserved
Alternatives, Inc. 600 First Ave. Raritan, NJ 08869 Phone: (908) 685-1444 Fax: (908) 685-2660
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