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Family Support Program


The Board of Developmental Disabilities operates the Family Support Program in conjunction with the North East Ohio Network (NEON), which assists with the daily operations of the program. The Board of DD sets policy for the program, monitors its implementation and makes necessary modifications to the program.


Each individual receiving service from the Family Support Program must be eligible for services from the Board of DD. Eligibility is established upon first request for services and is re-determined at ages 3, 6 and 16. For more information about eligibility requirements, call our intake line at (216) 736-2673.
The Family Support Program is open to individuals who are living at home with their families. Individuals living in their own apartment, on a waiver, in an ICF/MR or in foster care are not eligible for this program. If you are receiving services from a support administrator, he/she will plan with you and give you similar services.    


The Family Support Program operates on a fiscal year beginning July 1st each year. The maximum level of service per family may vary from year to year based on funds available and the number of families served.  The amount of funding for a family is based on their reported taxable income. This is not an entitlement program. Requests are filled on a first-come first-served basis as funding permits. Allowances for families joining the program in mid-year are prorated.


Your questions are very important to us. In order to serve you better, if it is necessary to leave a message for us, please only leave that message for one of the staff.  Please state your name and spell it, and explain the reason for your call. This will allow us to research your question and get back to you in a timely manner.   

Help Me Grow Families   

The Family Support Program offers financial assistance to eligible families based upon family taxable income. The program funds services and supports not covered by Medicaid or other insurance that are needed due to a child’s disability. It does not fund items that are necessary for typical child development.
The program funds the following types of services:

  • Specialized equipment that may be recommended by your therapist
  • Therapies
    • Recreational therapies (adaptive swimming, therapeutic riding, music therapy)
    • Occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy for children under age 3. This will be funded if insurance does not cover the cost of therapy. The program can also cover the cost of co-pays.
  • Counseling
  • Special diets related to a disability (for children over the age of 1)
  • Training for families
    • The program can cover the cost of seminars or conferences.
  • Home modifications for accessibility
  • Respite care

If you need one of these services, please call our Family Support Application Line at (216) 931-7462 or send us an e-mail at We will mail you an application.
To print a copy of this information for Help Me Grow families, click here.

Available Services


Disposable diapers are available for children over the age of three and adults who are not eligible for them through Medicaid. A physician’s prescription certifying the individual is incontinent is required on an annual basis. We contract with a company to deliver these diapers to your home on or before the 10th of each month. We are able to get a variety of brands under our contract; however, we are not able to purchase all brands. If the type, size or quantity of diapers needed changes, please let us know as soon as possible. Call NEON at (800) 237-6828 for diapers. The cost of diapers will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance.          

Dietary Items

Specialized dietary items are available for children over age one and adults. A physician’s prescription certifying that the special dietary items' necessity is required. We do not cover typical formula for infants under this program. Call NEON at (800) 237-6828 for special dietary items. The cost of special dietary items will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance.       

Special Equipment

Special equipment is available upon the recommendation of any of the following professionals: physician, occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech-language pathologist. The therapist must fill out the therapy request form as well as attach a picture and description of the specialized piece of equipment. We do not purchase typical toys under this program. 
This equipment will be ordered and shipped to the location the therapist specifies on the form. The form should be forwarded to Cuyahoga Family Support Services, 5121 Mahoning Ave., Austintown, Ohio 44515 or faxed to (855) 336-6968 (toll free) or scanned and emailed to It is not necessary for you to make a phone contact in addition to sending the documentation. You will be contacted if any other information is required. Please note that orders can not be processed for less than $35.
If the piece of equipment is over your allotment, you have the option of sending a check to NEON for the portion that is above your allotment you will be notified of the amount to forward. The typical processing time is about 10 days.
Families may, with prior approval from NEON, purchase items for reimbursement.
For questions related to special equipment, please call NEON at (800) 237-6828 .  The amount of the special equipment will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance.
Equipment Request Form

Therapies, Counseling, TrainingPhoto of girl and instructor in theraputic swimming class

The Family Support Program can assist in funding traditional therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy for children under three years of age. For individuals three years old and older, these therapies are the responsibility of the local school district, and we can not fund them through this program.
We can also fund recreational therapies, such as music therapy, therapeutic horseback riding and adaptive aquatics, but these therapies or classes must be adaptive classes. Family Support Program can not fimd typical classes.
The Family Support Program can also fund registration costs for conferences for families on issues related to the eligible individual. Prior approval is required for this program to fund the conference. For approval to attend or questions related to therapies, counseling or training, call NEON at (800) 237-6828 . The cost of these services will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance.     

Camp Assistance

Each year, the Family Support Program reserves funds for the cost of camp. There is usually a set amount available for each camper. These funds may be used to cover the cost of a specialized camp only. We can not fund typical camps through this program.
Campership forms are available around February 1st each year. We process campership forms as they are received. For questions related to camp, call NEON at (800) 237-6828 . The cost of camp will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance.
Camp Instructions    Camp Authorization Form    2014 Camp Directory    

Home Modifications

Substantial home modifications such as ramps, lifts and bathroom alterations typically require a rather lengthy process of evaluation, competitive bidding and installation. If approved, we will work closely with a rehabilitation engineer in order to make sure your requested modification is completed according to all applicable housing and building codes. Your modification may require NEON to make a referral to an appropriate therapist for specific recommendations.
The work will be completed by one of our contractors. The contractor must obtain any necessary permits in order to complete the modification. Outside work depends on  weather conditions and may need to be started when the conditions are appropriate. Some modifications may take considerable time so we require as much notice for the request as possible.
If you live in a rental home and you need modifications, you must have written permission from your landlord for us to begin the modification.
We can not fund typical household repairs through this program. Each modification must be adaptive in nature. The amount for the Home Modification will be deducted from a separate fund, which is not a part of your annual Family Support Program allowance.
If you have questions about home modifications, please call Tim Lewicki at (216) 736-2947. 

Respite CarePhoto of boy and instructor at theraputic riding center

Respite care is defined as an occasional break for families. Respite care should be used for individuals who require specialized care beyond what might be expected of an untrained provider. Areas of need that we consider include medical, physical and behavioral issues, the age of primary caregiver, the number of eligible family members and extraordinary family situations. Demand for respite services is very high.

Types of Respite Care Providers

Family-Selected Provider: A provider the family knows and feels is able to care for their family member. This provider cannot live in the same house with the individual and cannot be a parent. Typically, this person is an extended family member, neighbor, friend or other person that the family and consumer may know.
Training for this provider comes from the family. The Family Support Program will pay the caregiver for the hours that he/she is providing respite for your family member. It is the family’s responsibility to keep track of the amount of respite hours requested. Any amount over the funding allowance cannot be paid through this program. For a Family-Selected Caregiver Packet or for any further questions regarding this type of provider, call NEON at (800) 237-6828 .

Caregivers who provide service in the consumer's home (sit) or in the provider's home (in-home):
  Both of these types of providers currently have a background check; they have training in various areas of providing services to individuals with disabilities, First Aid and CPR.
After April 1, 2011, all of these providers will be certified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DoDD) as a supported living or waiver provider. The requirements for this type of certification include a background check, eight hours of training in courses related to individuals with disabilities, First Aid and CPR. Initial certification is good for one year with a requirement for them to become recertified after that one year. The second certification is for a three-year period, and providers will be required to maintain their certification and get recertified every three years.

Some of the caregivers described below have already received their certification from DoDD:

“Sit” Respite Providers:
 These caregivers will come into the family home and care for your family member while you are away. They are independent contractors of NEON. The cost of each respite sit will be deducted from your total Family Support Program allowance. For a copy of the provider list, call NEON at (800) 237-6828 or check its website its website. Families can call various "sit" providers, negotiate a rate with them and determine if the caregiver is available to provide the respite service.

In-Provider-Home Respite Providers:
 These caregivers meet the requirements listed above and have their homes certified by NEON. They are independent contractors of NEON. They have a fire inspection and an annual visit to make sure that their house still meets the standards set by the Family Support Program. These providers will be available to have individuals stay in their homes for an extended period of time. 
For a copy of the provider list, call NEON at (800) 237-6828 or check its website.  Families can call various providers, negotiate a rate and determine if the provider is available to provide the respite service.

Direct Deposit Enrollment Form
Direct Deposit FAQ
FSS Invoice
Instructions for Completing the Family Support Invoice
Sample Invoice
Sample Family Reimbursement Invoice
Family-Selected Provider Process
Waiver of Training for Family-Selected Provider Form

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Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1129
PHONE: (216)241-8230 - FAX: (216)861-0253