FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DFS FAMILY SERVICES
What are the basic services you provide and where do you provide them?
We have two domains of service.
We provide care planning and coaching services for parents and families needing navigation to retool or stabilize the life of a loved one with a primary psychiatric or multidimentional disability picture. Our goal is simply: practically apply our 25+ year experience as experts in behavioral healthcare, psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery, and disability management to our clients' needs, and teach them to be competent managers of their own family member (and themselves).
For families and fiduciaries, we also provide financial case management for a loved one or beneficiary needing oversight paying bills, living on a budget, etc, and vendor/payee management.
We provide our services primarily in the Washington DC and greater New York City areas but conduct consultatuons and life care plans nationwide. We travel from Maine to Florida to Hawaii to perform psychiatric interventions, and we act as long term surrogates for parents needing respite from the adult child whose illness and disability erodes the parent's quality of life.
Do you provide direct case management to a loved one, or just help the parent/family managing that life?
It depends on the location in US. In some national regions, like New York, DC, and South Florida, we have trusted professional partners who deliver the day-to-day medical case management directly to a loved one or beneficiary; in other cities, we will seek out, vet, and recommend qualified independent vendors to families (who usually struggle knowing how to hire such providers). In almost all cases, the family or parent is our client and we are their qualified surrogate coordinating the care plan to manage the medical, disability, and daily living of their loved ones. Our primary outcomes for families is life stabilization for their family member and safe 'launching' of an adult child with disability into his or her own managed life, especially for aging parents. All parents want to practice separation from their adult child to ready all parties emotionally (and otherwise) for a future when the parents are gone. This process involves the child learning to relate to a third party professionals managing their life, as needed, and developing independence along the way.
What if the adult child with disability or beneficiary is not capable or competent to choose to work with you, but they need your help?
We regularly work on behalf of persons who are deemed by the court as ‘not competent’ and have guardians or conservators. In some cases, a guardian or conservator may be warranted, but legal action has not been formally taken. Here we advise families to follow a "least restrictive" path to legally and ethically guide a person to have their affairs managed, up to the point of pursuing a formal competency evaluation (i.e. seek direct informed consent or request permission that a power of attorney be named). For the adult child who has behavioral or psychological challenges to working with us, we utilize rehabilitation counseling ( one of our professional core competencies) to help that individual participate in ways that they can understand or accept.
How does DFS charge for its services?
We are fee-for-service. We can restructure service delivery for clients whose support needs become costly or who demonstrate an inability to constructively utilize the services provided.
My family member can’t seem to live on a budget or manage money. What kind of change can you create that my family has not been able to do?
As counselors and administrators outside of the emotional history that affects families, we find that de-constructing well worn family/money dynamics can help establish boundaries and structure. Our 25+ years of experience brings a different set of skills and resources to the table which families find refreshing and helpful.
Why would someone use DFS instead of their family for financial case management of a loved one?
In some cases, the realities of money, dependence, and disability can be contaminants to a parent/child relationship. In these instances, the adult child wants autonomy and the parent was respite from being both parent and "banker" for that adult child. Also, parents want to practice separation from their adult child, that is, to ready him or her for a future when the parents are gone. This process involves the child learning to relate to a third party professional managing their funds.
I am an institutional trustee; can you help me?
We work on behalf of large trusts as special advisors to trustees who require assistance with managing medical expenses, financial life care planning, and/or preserving quality of daily living for the beneficiary with disability. For these trusts, we can also perform daily money management for the beneficiary.
Call (301) 795-3293 or contact us to explore how we can meet your current or long term needs.