In keeping with our mission, DARS presents the following link(s) in order to assist stakeholders to develop resources. DARS does not endorse and is not affiliated with this program.
Some persons with disabilities may have a need for personal assistance services. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) consumer-managed Personal Assistance Services program can help individuals who are eligible for assistance. This program includes an option that allows consumers to recruit, hire, manage, and fire their personal assistants and respite care providers.
The Attendant Network
www.attendantnetwork.org (Available in Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio)
People with disabilities can now search for personal attendants using the Attendant Network. The nonprofit Attendant Network is the result of a three–year grant awarded by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.
A link to the website, www.attendantnetwork.org, is provided here for information purposes only. DARS is not affiliated with the Attendant Network or the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities; furthermore, DARS does not screen the attendants listed through the network and does not endorse persons on the attendant list. Before hiring any personal attendant, consumers should carefully interview potential personal attendants and do reference checks.
Tips for Choosing a Personal Attendant
Many people with disabilities require assistance with tasks to live independently in their communities. Finding the right personal attendant is an important task as this person will have a significant impact on your life.
- Write a profile of your lifestyle. This can include where you live, if you go to school or work, if you do volunteer work, your hobbies and interests, and personal preferences, such as if you want an attendant who doesn't smoke.
- Determine what tasks you need performed, how often, and on which days of the week you need them done. This will help you to prepare a job description and work schedule.
- Have potential personal attendants fill out a job application. This not only gives you a chance to collect and compare the same information about all applicants, but it also lets people know this is a job that needs to be taken seriously.
- Screen applicants over the phone before conducting in-person interviews. Ask some key questions and let them give you some information about themselves.
- Negotiate a meeting place for the interview. This will give you some information about their flexibility and understanding of your need for privacy, protection, and safety.
- During the interview, check the person out. Do they look neat, clean, and presentable? Do they seem comfortable around you and do you feel comfortable around them? Find out as much as you can about the person as your safety and stability depend on this person being able to function optimally on the job.
- Some questions you might want to ask during the interview include:
- What previous experience do you have with persons with disabilities?
- What are your attitudes toward disability?
- Describe your best and worst qualities.
- What would you like best about the job?
- What would you like least about the job?
- Tell me about your employment history.
- Have you even been fired from a job?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
- Collect and check references from current and former employers, supervisors, teachers, or coworkers. When you call references, ask pertinent questions about the applicant's personality, abilities, and qualities.
- Conduct a criminal background check. This can be done with help from your local independent living center or local or state police.