As people with developmental disabilities live longer, a new national center is gearing up to help individuals and their families plan for the future.

The Arc said it will establish a center to address the needs of an estimated 600,000 to 700,000 American families that include an adult with developmental disabilities with no clear long-term plan. In many cases, the group said aging caregivers are struggling to plan for a time when they will no longer be around to provide support.

Known as the National Center on Future Planning, the initiative will offer information, resources and assistance with everything from person-centered planning to guardianship, housing options and financial considerations, the group said.

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“In the last 20 years, people with disabilities have made great strides to live independently, be a part of their community and experience all they want in life,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. “But too many people are facing the next chapter in their lives without a plan.”

The future planning effort will include an online database of local resources throughout the country as well as a phone number that people can call to be referred to services in their area.

What’s more, organizers said they expect to offer training for families and create a volunteer network of typically-developing individuals who can visit those with developmental disabilities and help monitor their quality of life.

Hiring is currently underway for staff to run the project, which is being funded with a grant of $800,000 over two years.

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