First Step Supported Living Services (FSSLS) was started by Ann Belles to meet a need in her own family. Ann is an adoptive parent of a number of children and young adults with developmental disabilities. As the Belles-Silcock children became adults they wanted to make the next typical adult transition---moving away from mom's house. Despite their various levels of disabilities, these young adults had desires that were the same as their peers without disabilities. Ann realized that many of her children would never develop the skills necessary to live completely independently, in fact many of her sons required constant eyes-on supervision due to their physical and behavioral challenges.
First Step Supported Living Services (FSSLS) is a vendored agency with the Regional Center of Orange County. This agency was developed to meet the residential needs of local Regional Center clients with significant developmental, medical, physical and behavioral challenges who choose to live in their own home in their own communities. When this agency started in December 1997, there was an unmet need in Orange County. There were few living options for individuals who had maximum support needs. Since 1997 FSSLS has successfully matched folks with significant support needs who want to live in their own homes to paid roommates and relief staff. FSSLS demonstrated that with an appropriate level of support, even a person with the most profound disabilities could live safely and successfully in his or her own home in the community. I am happy to report that today there are several other supported living agencies in Orange Count (and we are sure many more in the state), who can provide residential support for this level of consumer need. Supported living has become another viable living option for adults with any level of developmental disabilities. For more information about supported living agencies in your area of California please contact your local Regional Center.