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$450,000 grant to help people with developmental disabilities plan for disaster

The Family Support Program (FSP) at the UNC School of Social Work has been awarded a $450,000 federal grant for a new project called “PREParation for Emergencies and Recovery: Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and their Families (PREP).”

PREP will help families and individuals with developmental disabilities, and the community agencies who serve them, plan for disaster and emergency response. It builds on the peer support model established by the FSP. A multi-level approach engages individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, community members, and state-level organizations to prepare for and recover from emergency situations.

Funding is from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is a three-year grant, with an initial award of $150,000.

“This important project will join the other projects that the School maintains in the area of developmental disabilities in our efforts to move forward in this important area of research, training and practice,” said Dean Jack Richman.

Plans for PREP include developing a web-based tool that will help people create their own emergency plans; developing training materials to increase awareness of the need for planning among those who support persons with disabilities; comprehensive program evaluation and related research; and identifying policy changes that might be needed.

While this project’s primary activities will take place in North Carolina, through a unique collaboration with PLAN!T NOW the materials developed will be available to people across the country.

“We are establishing a new model for supporting individuals with disabilities,” said Irene Nathan Zipper, Ph.D., MSW., leader of the FSP team. “Therefore, this project has important implications for the safety of people with disabilities, across the country.”