What Families Say About the Benefits and Costs of FMS

Hear from Experienced Families


  • Flexibility allows focus on what is important to the person and creative response to new opportunities or changing needs.
  • Individualized support for community engagement: support is fit to the person in community, the person is not fit into a program.
  • Responsibility for supports offers control of who provides what support and when. Family values and vision govern.
  • Available alternatives offer less.

Cost in Time and Effort:

  • Accountability to employees and to PDD can be a lot to keep up with. (For many families this concern decreases considerably with experience.)
  • Recruiting staff and adjusting to turnover requires attention and can create anxiety.
  • There are uncertainties. PDD policy and allocations influence FMS and could change to the disadvantage of FMS participants. This could also happen to agency services.

Bottom Line:

There is work to do but, over time, the results you can create together are well worth it. Most families manage very well.


Barb MacIntyre - The advantages are that we can be flexible, creative, really pay attention to what’s needed at the time. Those are the same things that become challenging about it... what do we tap into next to grow the network?

Kim Edwards & Dave Kinders - It only takes one trip out to a mall and see one group of people being led around by a worker to know that’s not what I want for my daughter. Although there is extra work, we are in control.

Wendy McDonald - Because we have been able to pick (who works with him), Kyle has been able to experience community engagement ways that I don’t think would be possible if we didn’t have the employer relationship with staff.

Robin Acton - We as a family have control. We get to decide who we hire, what they do and when they do it. We aren’t restricted by a typical work week. She wants a night life; I can recruit somebody who is available at those times. The flexibility is a huge advantage.

Laurie Peterson - (The administrative work) is a whole lot to keep on top of, and there is just a fear that you won’t always have the support that you need.

Louise Gendreau & Robert Howard -When we were thinking about FMS we were told that it was too much work, and it is a lot of work. On the other hand (families that have moved from FMS to agencies) regret the (move) because they have the stresses but don’t have the control.