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What is Personal Planning?

Personal Planning (often called Person Centered Planning) is a set of tools, a philosophy, and a way of helping a person take charge of his / her life. There are many styles and formats of this type of planning, all having been developed primarily to change the image and perception others have of people with disabilities and to ultimately change the "service system" to be more consumer-focused and directed, placing the person themselves in the drivers seat.

Person Centered Planning is often used at natural times of transition in life or when a person or others close to them are contemplating major change. Sometimes it is suggested or requested because the person is dissatisfied with their current situation, sometimes because others are at a loss with how to help the person further, and sometimes because it's just time to really listen to this person rather than continue on a path of relying upon professional judgment about the person.

Person Centered Planning brings together the people who matter most to the person, in a comfortable more casual atmosphere than typical meetings. Through this process gradually a different picture is crafted of who this person really is - getting beyond their disabilities, issues, and struggles. From this, a view of what the future should look like is steadily built by the team, or 'Circle of Support', with the person.... all based upon the wishes, hopes, dreams, and needs of the person from their perspective. The Circle then works actively to get as close as possible to that dream.

What Is Networks' Role with Personal Planning?

Principle staff of Networks were instrumental with the birth, use, and growth of Person Centered Planning throughout Pennsylvania, beginning with training sessions about Personal Futures Planning (one of the earliest and fullest styles of Person Centered Planning) offered in Philadelphia in 1987. From these sessions and the interest it spawned, Networks staff initiated a small demonstration project for the use of Personal Futures Planning with Case Managers in Philadelphia in 1989, the first project of its kind in Pennsylvania or anywhere.

Since this time, Networks has been committed to assisting people with disabilities to live very different lives by encouraging others to believe, support, hold sacred, and actively work towards making real their wishes and dreams. This has become a fundamental part of Networks and all our varied activities hinge upon this mission... to assist others to live more inclusively in their work, social, and living situations. And from this, more inclusive communities are promoted for everyone.

What We Offer / Personal Planning
Support Services Available

While our history with Person Centered Planning has been primarily in assisting people with disabilities, we have learned well the importance of incorporating not only these powerful tools but more importantly the underlying philosophy of Person Centered Planning in many other situations. Because of this, we now refer to all our services in this area as "Personal Planning Support Services" to signify a more general and thorough use of these tools to more varied situations and people.

The following are offered as just some examples of supports and services we offer in this area:

- Both large group and team training in the history, styles / formats, and use of Person Centered Planning. This may be for a mixed audience new to these ideas or more specific focused training to groups struggling with true implementation issues.

-Direct assistance / facilitation with people to initiate Person Centered Planning to make changes in their life. This is applicable for anyone, both those with and without noticeable disabilities, at any time in their life. For example:

  • Young children with various medical or other issues and their families to better plan and coordinate help;
  • Students, their teachers, and peers to plan how to be more included in academic as well as social events;
    students preparing to graduate school to contemplate and plan for life after school;
  • Adults looking to make changes in what they do for work, leisure, home life, or any other area of life;
  • Seniors needing to make decisions about their health, living conditions, and how to stay actively involved in life.
  • Mentoring or co-facilitation with other facilitators in Person Centered Planning to better their skills, confidence, and expand their use of the styles / formats of planning.
  • Consultation and assistance to people and their teams / Circles of Support to more fully realize the expressed dreams and wishes. This sometimes means helping them to negotiate systems issues, team conflicts, or "stuck patterns" that groups often fall into.
  • Assistance to organizations, government offices, or other large systems to develop and utilize Person Centered Planning as a method to change policies, procedures, and practices to bring about a more consumer-based / driven system.
  • Helping others using Person Centered Planning to find ways to embed the underlying principles and philosophies in more
    common and natural ways, to practice these more fully in all they do

To request Technical Assistance, click here Training and Technical Assistance Request Form or call Rosa McAllister at 610-935-6627 or 1-866-683-3651.



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123 South Broad Street, 23rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19109-1029 Phone: 215.546.4111 Fax: 215.731.0965
The Commons at Valley Forge, 1220 Valley Forge Road, Box 987, Unit #17, Valley Forge, PA 19482
Phone: 610.935.6624 Fax: 610.935.6497
Toll-free: 1.866.683.3651