Using Peer Mentoring to Help Manage Your CDPA Program

Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) is a service that gives you full control over who will be in your home and how they will complete tasks for you. Using CDPA can seem overwhelming at first. It’s a lot of responsibility, but the whole idea behind self-direction is that you take control of managing your care, including employer tasks that are more administrative in nature, like reviewing, signing and submitting time sheets. If you feel that managing CDPA is just too much for you to do on your own, there are options.

One option may be to choose another adult who could become your Designated Representative (DR). The DR would be responsible for managing the program on your behalf. You may still participate by offering your opinions and feedback but ask the DR to assume the duties that you find to be too challenging. This could be a family member or friend but not someone who works as your Personal Assistant. If you choose to select a DR, it is important that you choose someone that you trust and who you believe will listen to your opinions about what is right for you and your program. Remember that the county caseworker or managed care service coordinator must approve the person selected to be the Designated Representative.

If you believe that you are able to perform the duties of an employer but just need some guidance and support, that’s what CDPA Peer Mentors are here for.

A CDPA Peer Mentor is a person who uses CDPA and has learned some skills that they can use to help other people with disabilities. CDPA Peer Mentors have each completed extensive training classes on peer mentoring and on the CDPA program. They also all use the program themselves. Because they have shared many of the same challenges and solved some of the same problems, they are often able to help.

As Peer Mentors, we support Consumers and Designated Representatives with many aspects of managing their programs. This includes things like providing resources and tips on how to interview, how to develop personnel policies, how to schedule employees, how to efficiently complete time sheets, how to supervise, and, when necessary, how to handle terminations.

CDPA peer mentors will not tell you what to do or give you the answers, but will work with you to give you the skills you need to build your program. We will help you work through your questions, giving you information about what we learned using the program, and ultimately work with you in making your own decisions.

Don’t be too hard on yourself! It is understandable that you may be unfamiliar with the demands of being an employer or some of the different issues you might experience running your program, even if you are a long-time user of the program. This new experience may feel overwhelming at times. Managing people requires a certain set of skills that many people have never had to learn. It takes time, practice, patience, and resources to develop good people management skills. With time and help, you can become more comfortable with the responsibilities and tasks associated with successfully running your CDPA program.

While it might take some work to manage your program, your independence and empowerment should make it worthwhile!

To contact a CDPA Peer Mentor, you can either call our toll free number at 1-855-4CDP-PEER (855-423-7733) or email us at peers@cdpaanys.org. You will usually hear from one of our peer mentors within 24 hours, or one business day.

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