New standards address
the postsecondary education needs of persons with disabilities
February 9, 2012, Tucson, Arizona -- CARF International
released accreditation standards for supported education. The standards are in
the newly published 2012 Employment and Community Services Standards Manual,
available in electronic and print formats at www.carf.org/catalog
(in Canada, www.carf.org/catalogue).
A supported education program provides resources that help
persons prepare for transitions and supports that allow them to be successful
during their continued education, and it creates collaborations with other
community partners to meet the needs of the persons served in educational
The purpose of supported education is to provide supports to
individuals who are enrolled or want to enroll in an education program to
achieve their learning goals. These goals may lead to persons being gainfully
employed in the job or career of their choice.
The standards for supported education can be applied on CARF
surveys conducted after June 30 this year.
The standards were drafted by an International Standards
Advisory Committee and then submitted to CARF's International Advisory Council
for review. CARF's approach to an inclusive standards development process
culminated in a broad field review, which invited comment from interested
professionals and the public, prior to the standards' adoption.
"Supported education expresses the belief that persons
with disabilities can attend classes, learn, and improve their options,"
said Paul Andrew, managing director of CARF's Employment and Community Services
accreditation area. "Individuals with postsecondary degrees or
certificates enjoy the benefits of higher levels of earnings and savings,
increased personal and professional mobility, improved quality of life for
their children, and more job and career choices."
Supported education occurs in the community in settings such
as an academic campus, vocational/trade school, college, and other
postsecondary educational settings, and might include online learning venues.
Pat L. Steele is the director of employment services with
Optimae LifeServices, Inc., in Des Moines, Iowa. The organization's success in its supported
education program is profiled in an article by Steele, "Going back to
school today makes it easier to go to work tomorrow," (in PDF format) at www.carf.org/optimae.
Steele observed, "Supported education today is, in many
respects, where supported employment was 25 to 30 years ago. Back then, it
seemed difficult for some people to visualize how people with disabilities
could work in the community. At present, it may be hard for some to see how
people with disabilities can succeed in postsecondary education. However, we
must recognize that returning to school will make it easier to go to work. Most
important, the additional skills and training can help lead to a lifetime of
economic stability and self-sufficiency."
CARF's leadership in framing standards is backed by its
46-year history of accrediting health and human services.
2/9/2012 1:05:00 AM