“I decided to become a caregiver in my family setting,” she says. “I’ve seen a lot of people who need a family. My goal is to make a person feel like part of a family.”
After she applied to CLASS Adult Family Care and was approved, she spoke with Registered Nurse Migdalia Bachman and AFC Care Manager Kemelin Domenech, who was later promoted to Day Hab manager. They arranged to meet Thomas, then 24 and living on the South Shore.
This is the first non-biological match for the CLASS program, which provides clinical and financial assistance for qualified caregivers to care for individuals with developmental disabilities at home. Once caregivers are approved, CLASS staff teaches them how to manage everyday challenges, such as personal care, meals and supervision. Monthly in-home visits and 24-hour emergency care consultation assures their success.
“When I met Thomas, he was quiet, but we spent an hour talking,” Priscilla says. “We decided we wanted to move ahead and we wanted to move quickly.”
Thomas, who also attends the CLASS Day Hab program now, moved into Priscilla’s home at the end of February 2015.
“He came the day we were celebrating my birthday, which is Valentine’s Day,” Priscilla says. “So Thomas was part of our family reunion.
“This is not work; it’s not a job,” she adds. “I introduce Thomas as part of my family.”
And Priscilla and Thomas are part of the CLASS family.