Group Homes and Day Programs After Graduation: Are These My Only Options?

Group of graduates

As a new (or soon to be) graduate, you are faced with choices on how to live your life without the familiarity of a daily set schedule, schoolwork and activities. Sometimes this can feel scary and overwhelming. You may be asking yourself: “What will I do with my days now? Where will I live?” 

In this blog post we will explore your options and share resources.   

People with disabilities and their families are often taught that going to a day program is the next step after high school. What if instead, you could fill your day with your favorite activities? Hang out with your friends, work at a job or start a career, and have your own personal support staff all at the same time? What if you could hire your parent or family friend to support you in the community? This is called self-direction and it’s all possible!   

Self-direction and other community-based models, offer people with disabilities the option to live outside of group homes or “congregate settings”. A person can choose to live in their family’s home, in a supported living environment or even in their own apartment or home.  

Support staff can be hired to help make this a reality.  

These options might sound impossible, but I promise you they ARE possible!   

Here is an example of someone’s life that accepts support from Values Into Action:  

“John” is a 20-something young man that lives in his own apartment. He uses a housing voucher to pay for part of his rent and the rest of the rent is paid through a combination of his paycheck and Social Security Insurance. He uses his DDD budget to hire his cousin, “Mark” to support him in the community. Mark takes John out in the community 3 days a week. They spend their days going to the gym, going to the local café for lunch, taking walks in John’s neighborhood and volunteering at the animal shelter. John has a job coach that supports him at his place of employment 2 days a week. In the evenings, John has dinner with his family and hangs out with his friends at his apartment where they watch movies and play video games.   

John is living his dream life and you can too!   

Sometimes people with complex medical and behavioral health needs think that John’s life is not possible for them. This is not always the case. There are many ways that people with complex needs can live lives of their choosing. People are living fulfilling lives outside of group homes and day programs, with the right supports in place.  

It is a good idea to talk to your Support Coordinator about your options and the pros and cons of each choice.   

In the meantime, you can check out these resources:   

The Annual Self-Direction Conference  

The NJ Youth Transition Conference 

Supports Brokerage Service 

NJ Housing for People with Complex Medical and Behavioral Needs 

  • Values Into Action PA was recently awarded a grant by the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities where we will host community Listening Sessions and Solution Sessions on housing options. We are working with our grant partners on this project: The Boggs Center, Community Living Education Project (CLEP), Community Health Law Project (CHLP), the Black I/DD Consortium, and SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN). Together, we will brainstorm solutions for housing choices for people with complex medical and behavioral needs. YOU are invited to participate and join us in this grant. Contact me, Amy Jedele with your interest at