California MENTOR pairs adults with intellectual disabilities and supportive homes – Del Mar Times

California MENTOR continues its mission of pairing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with caregivers who offer their homes and serve as mentors.

“We’re a family homing agency,” said Carissa Carrasquillo, a program recruiter for California MENTOR. “What that is for us specifically is we’re a residential service model for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. And we specifically look to give that unique shared living experience that you would provide in a family home, and that can provide that nurturing, comfortable setting with individualized support that we provide on a clinical side, and that our mentor homes are providing on a familial side.”

California MENTOR has men and women entering the program with autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and other intellectual disabilities. The organization has branches all over the state of California, including San Diego.

Homecare providers are mentors who serve as independent contracts. They come from all walks of life, including some who have worked in healthcare in some capacity.

“As a recruiter, I’m providing that experience that I’ve learned in case management into the recruiting position in looking for quality homes and people who are willing to open up and provide in-home care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Carrasquillo said.

California MENTOR takes into consideration the interests, skills and personalities of individuals and mentors to create the best possible match that can lead to a meaningful, long-term relationship.

“All we’re looking for is someone with the capacity for care to provide a foster care experience for adults,” Carrasquillo said. “Those adults are on a wide scale of needs, and we look to place our individuals with care providers where needs and ability are matched. So if someone is looking to provide care for someone who has more needs, we want to make sure they’re paired up with them. And if someone is looking to provide in-home care to someone with fewer needs, we want to provide that and honor that as well.”

Searching for those types of homes is ongoing throughout San Diego.

“For San Diego, our short-term goals are to find and certify quality homes to provide care to individuals who are constantly being referred to us, and our long-term goal overall for our program is to assist our individuals with reaching their goals of independent living services, whether that’s them graduating out of our program or them needing continued care in our program indefinitely,” Carrasquillo said.

Carrasquillo added that she began working with California MENTOR after her military service gave her the continued ability to provide assistance and care for others.

“And I really enjoy how this office and the company as a whole are working toward helping those who don’t necessarily have a voice within the larger community and providing them with as close to independent living as they can,” Carrasquillo said.

California MENTOR serves all of San Diego. For more information, visit ca-mentor.com.

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