What Is A Microboard?
A MicroboardTM is a small group of family and friends (a minimum of 5) who join with a person with a disability to create a non-profit organization. A Microboard is focused on the person's self-determination, empowerment, and supports planning using a person-directed approach. People and families that choose to invite others to form a Microboard fundamentally believe that
- Building strong and abiding relationships is central to a person’s security and well-being.
- Everyone has the capacity to express their will and preferences in some way.
- Sharing power and decision-making with others to ensure that the person is heard and understood.
- Everyone deserves and wants to have a sense of purpose in their lives.
- It is essential for families to sustain the person’s relationships and decision-making powers for when they are no longer alive or capable to assist
What Are The Benefits?
In addition to supporting a person’s decisions and direction, a Microboard:
- Helps to formalize a “Circle of Support/Network”.
- Expands the number of people in a person’s life.
- Supports the person to continue to direct their life and make key decisions.
- Offers purpose and intentionality to planning so that Microboard members know that they are there to assist the person to think about his/her next steps and make decisions.
- Helps keep a person’s vision and dreams alive.
- Provides support for siblings or next generation of support.
- Reduces pressure on families/caregivers.
- Means a person/family is less likely to go into crisis.
The Role of a Microboard
It's important to remember that in creating a Microboard, you are creating a non-profit organization. A Microboard can:
- Support decision-making.
- Promote succession planning and help siblings transition into the primary support role.
- Help recruit, supervise and remunerate support staff.
- Receive and administer funding.
- Manage Home and Residential Supports.
- Interact and liaise with trusts, ODSP, RDSP, etc., and enter into a service contract with an agency.
- Strengthen applications for support.
Vela Canada pioneered supporting people and families to create and sustain Microboards, based on work done by David & Faye Wetherow in the 1980's. Vela trademarked Microboards, asking that those using it align to six principles:
- Microboard members must establish and maintain a personal relationship with the person for whom the board is created.
- All people are assumed to have the capacity for self-determination - they want to express their wishes, goals and what they like/don't like. This capacity will be acknowledged, respected, and demonstrated in all of the dealings of the Microboard.
- All planning and decisions made by a Microboard will demonstrate regard for the person’s safety, comfort, and dignity, with consistent respect for his/her needs, wishes, interests, and strengths.
- Microboard members will help ensure the person participates in community activities with Microboard members (e.g. family functions, social events). This is done in ways that are natural for each of the people involved. It is these experiences that help a person make informed decisions!
- Ensure the person has the opportunity to both receive from and give to his/her community, as well as with other individuals in his/her network.
- All Microboard members will conduct their board business in the spirit of mutual respect, cooperation, and collaboration.