A Support Broker is personally hired by a young or adult person with a disability and their family to help create and implement life plans, manage budgets,hire, train and supervise support staff, negotiate rates for supports, network within the community, and expand the circle of friends and other allies in the community. The ideal Support Broker is a creative, multi-talented, well-connected individual with the skills to support and promote the rights, needs, and talents of individuals with disabilities. The Support Broker’s role is uniquely defined by each person and/or family for whom they work.
Support Brokerage is not a standardized or fixed service delivered equally to each person with a disability. Instead, the role of the Support Broker is to assist each individual to live the life they choose. In other words, the “job description” for a Support Broker will vary depending on the needs and desires of each individual employer. It is the adult with a disability, family and her/his circle of support that determine the specifics of a Support Broker’s responsibilities.
Skill Set of a Support Broker
To become an effective Support Broker, Advocates believe that the following skill set is needed:
Values: As a Support Broker, you are in a position of service. You are hired to help your employers define the supports that they feel are necessary to do the things in life that are important to them and to help put those supports in place. To do the job of a Support Broker, you must believe in Self-Directed supports and the guiding principles of Self-Determination. A Support Broker must believe that every person has the right and the ability to make choices. A Support Broker shows dignity and respect for all people.
Skills: To be an effective Support Broker you will need to develop a strong skill set. You will need to understand “the system” and how it works, how to negotiate rates, bill for supports using a fiscal intermediary, write support plans, host circle of support meetings, facilitate person-centered planning meetings, find jobs, etc. But most importantly, you must be a careful listener.
You need to hear what your employer (person with a disability) needs and wants. In relation to others, you need to be an effective advocate, good listener, communicator, and a thoughtful diplomat.
Attitudes: People with disabilities are all too often surrounded by unmotivated help. As a Broker, it is vitally important that you enjoy what you do, be enthusiastic and positive. It is important to show a genuine interest in your employer (person with a disability) and to take them seriously. A sense of humor is also helpful. Many of the changes that you will participate in as a Support Broker are exciting. Therefore, be excited!! Enjoy the opportunity to serve people with disabilities and help others join the celebration of Self-Determination for all.
SUPPORT BROKER TRAINING MY VOICE MY CHOICE – Even though this information is for Support Brokers, it will assist you with selecting your Support Broker. (Thanks to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for this information.)