Parents propose personal care options for River Park Community Center summer camp program

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Parents are coming up with ideas to help get kids with special needs personal care at River Park Community Center.

WINK News reported earlier in April the City of Naples changed its policy, saying parents will have to pay for personal care to attend, and now they want to train staff.

The idea was to have community partners step up and train cap staff. That was presented by parents to city staff because the city said those at the camp aren’t trained to provide personal care services.

Parents brought up the Starability Foundation and Collier County Public Schools as possibilities to train the staff. WINK News reached out to the city about the idea, and a spokesperson said Starability has been in discussions with the city about camp policies for the past year.

Starability then told the city they do not offer one-on-one personal care or training. As for the school district, the city said the district does not offer one-on-one care during the summer months.

Stephanie Nordin hopes the new policy does change.

“There’s so many families in Naples that don’t have an option to go to camp now. And camp for children like ours is way more than just having fun and splashing around. This is going to teach life skills for the rest of their lives,” Nordin said.

WINK News asked the Naples City Manager’s Office, what have been the discussions of having community partners the parents listed (such as STARAbility and CCPS) help train the camp’s staff?

“STARability has been a partner with the City of Naples for six years. City staff have been in discussions with STARability since 2022 regarding the policies and procedures moving forward for the Inclusion Camps. STARability informed the City of Naples they do not offer one-on-one personal care or training, which is what we have found throughout the State of Florida,” the city manager’s office responded. “CCPS has trained / certified staff and offers one-on-one personal care during the school year; however, CCPS does not offer this care during the summer months.”

WINK News also asked the Naples City Manager’s Office, are there any financial resources available for parents to help cover the costs of having to hire a personal care assistant for the camp?

“Staff has been diligently working with a number of organizations on options for scholarships that will cover the fee for the summer camp and a portion of the personal care services,” the city manager’s office responded.

Parents told WINK News it would cost about $8,000 for a personal care assistant.

WINK News asked the city if there was any financial resources available for parents to help cover costs. A spokesperson said staff has been working with several organizations to figure out options for scholarships to help cover the camp fee and a portion of those personal care services.

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