About The Brokers – Characteristics and Competencies

Knowledge of Service Systems and Community Resources

  • Creates options in generic community services as feasible alternatives to human services (e.g.: job locators, local realtors for housing, community recreational resources).
  • Is able to identify advocacy and community resources such as state and local Arcs, Independent Living Centers, Institute for Community Inclusion, and others.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the state wide human services systems, such as DDS, DESE, MRC, Elder Affairs, DMH, etc., and local area office personnel and local providers and vendor services.
  • Is familiar with legal, regulatory, licensure and policy issues. (Examples, ADA, 504, IDEA, Mass Special Education Laws, Ch 688) including all state agency regulations, licensure requirements (programs and services).
  • Is able to work with legal advocacy organizations (Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Disability Law Center, Federation for Children with Special Needs, The Center for Public Representation).
  • Is familiar with assistive technology in its many forms.

Financial and Funding Opportunities

  • Demonstrates knowledge of financial management, including private funding, special trusts and wills, private insurance and public sector benefits and entitlements such as social security benefits and Medicaid.
  • Is able to negotiate funding mechanisms in public sector (service delivery, costs, per capita allocations, flexible funding).
  • Assists individual to manage fiscally, personal budgets within program/service allocations and

Beliefs and Attitudes

  • Believes in the rights of individuals with disabilities to live a meaningful life in the community
  • Understands values of various support services for social inclusion, employment, and residential support.
  • Is not tied to one service system or one model and will truly individualize services, no matter where the broker’s salary comes from.
  • Believes individual can create personal service network.
  • Is willing to keep current in the field with changes in philosophy, policy and practice.
  • Demonstrates strong sense of social justice.
  • Is committed to and understands self-determination, freedom, civil rights and human rights.

Diversity Skills (Cultural Competence)

  • Recognizes differences between ethnic minorities and the larger community.
  • Appreciates and honors cultural differences within minority groups and the larger culture.
  • Respects the nature and mores of individuals and families across and among cultural groups.
  • Communicates effectively with non-English speaker.
  • Understands and respects the culture and values of the disability and elder care movement.

Skills in Planning and Implementation

  • Facilitates and conducts individual planning processes (PATH, Tools for Tomorrow, etc.).
  • Is able to help individuals and their supporters identify a vision and achieve short- and long-term goals over time.
  • Is able to negotiate with human service agencies, providers, programs and school systems.
  • Knows when to refer to other human and/or community services, independent brokers and agencies.
  • Advocates for the desires of individuals and the families to gain type of supports and services needed or desired.
  • Assists individuals to rent or buy their own homes.

Interpersonal skills

  • Listens actively, with ability to summarize what is said.
  • Communicates with individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings.
  • Accepts feedback and direction from the individual they work for and from those they work with.
  • Knows the right question to ask.
  • Writes clearly.
  • Demonstrates the following personal attributes: patient, preserving, positive, resourceful, reliable, responsible, willing to take risks, creative, trustful, flexible, common sense, fair.
  • Is non-judgmental.