Agency with Choice


What is the Agency with Choice (AWC) Program?

Agency With Choice (AWC) is a person-directed program based on the philosophy of Self-Determination. The AWC program empowers people with IDD to enhance the quality of their lives by providing individuals with the opportunity for choice and control over their services and supports; the program is designed to acknowledge that each person knows best of their own needs and how those needs should be met.

The AWC model offers an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability a high level of choice and control over their services and supports, also known as self-direction.  The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) provides policies and expectations over the AWC program.  The AWC program has specific roles identified for the Managing Employer (ME), Support Service Professional (SSP) and co-employer The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties (The Arc). 

An individual participating in the AWC Program can be their own Managing Employer (ME) or identify a Surrogate to act on their behalf as the ME. The ME has the ability to select the Support Service Professionals (SSPs) and direct provision of services. The SSP will be hired as an employee of The Arc for payroll, taxes and Worker’s Compensation purposes, but with the day-to-day direction and control of the ME for the service activities.

Below is a Summary List of the Services Most Commonly Utilized:

In-Home & Community Support

A service designed to assist individuals in achieving goals as well as acquiring, maintaining, and improving skills in order to live an independent and meaningful life in their home and community. Examples of these skills may include: activities of daily living (ADLs), areas of self-care and health management, decision making, communication, socialization and developing relationships, budgeting/money management, participating in preferred activities as well as developing personal interests and hobbies, accessing transportation, community integration, etc.

Companion Services

A service provided to individuals with the purpose of providing supervision and assistance to ensure their health and safety or to perform activities of daily living for the individual. This service is intended to assist the individual to participate more meaningfully in their home and community life.

Respite Services

A service provided to individuals, on a short-term basis, to provide relief to or in the absence of the primary care-giver. Staff provide supervision and assistance to the individual to ensure their health and safety. Respite may be provided on a temporary/hourly basis or over a 24 hour period of time.

Supports Broker Services

This service is available to individuals and families who elect to self-direct their own services. The service is designed to assist the Managing Employer (Individual or their Surrogate) to successfully manage services. Supports Brokers can assist the Managing Employer with one or all areas of self-direction, depending on the need. Supports Brokers can assist with recruiting staff, scheduling, paperwork (timesheet, service notes, progress notes), connecting to community resources, etc.

Supported Employment

A service designed to provide support to individuals in the work place. Supported Employment staff may assist the individual in job skill development and finding a job as well as providing on-going support and coaching.

Chore Services

These services can include cleaning and laundry, meal preparation, and other general household care in order to maintain a clean, sanitary, and safe condition. In order to qualify for this service neither the participant nor anyone else in the household, is capable of performing the function; and no other relative, caregiver, landlord, community/volunteer agency is capable of or responsible for the provision of the service.

Enhanced Services

These are services provided to participants who require a higher level of care (medical, behavioral and/or specialized communication needs) to assist them in being able to remain in their private home. Enhanced Services require that staff have certain bachelor’s degrees and/or credentials or are licensed as a nurse (as outlined by the Office of Developmental Programs) in order to provide the service. Enhanced Services include: In-Home and Community Supports (1:1 or 2:1) and Respite.

Vendor Services

Including But Not Limited To:

  • Camp Reimbursement (For qualifying camps)
  • Mileage Reimbursement (For staff, Managing Employers and other Designated Drivers)
  • Transportation Services (Lanta)
  • Vehicle Adaptions
  • Specialized Supplies
  • Assistive Technology

An individual enrolled in Agency with Choice (AWC) may receive one or any combination of the above services (dependent upon the identified needs and waiver budget). Please contact your Supports Coordination Organization (SCO) to discuss services and the process for referral to AWC program.

For the full review of the details of the AWC program, please click the current bulletin here:

How to Get Started with Agency with Choice

To be eligible for The Arc’s AWC Program, you must receive services through the Consolidated Waiver, P/FDS Waiver, Community Living Waiver, or Base Funding in Lehigh or Northampton Counties. To learn more about the waiver process, please visit your county’s website:

Once eligibility has been determined by the county, you will be referred to a Supports Coordination Organization (SCO) of your choice – either SAM, Inc or Quality Progressions.  The SCO will assign a Supports Coordinator (SC) to work with the individual and family/caregivers to develop a plan.  The SC will act as a liaison and help you learn about and access to available support services.  When the waiver is approved the SC can make a referral to The Arc’s AWC program.

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