The Interdependence Network (IN) is a collaborative effort among disability-based human service organizations from around the United States, Canada and Australia.
The network was formed in 2008 to explore the concept of social capital and its role in the field of rehabilitation and in the lives of people with disabilities. The IN's purpose is to provide the rehabilitation community with a central repository of information in order to research, develop, evaluate, and disseminate successful ways that the Interdependence paradigm of social capital can be embraced.
An Interdependence paradigm promotes our commonality, not our differences. Such an approach does not concentrate on trying to fix or change the person with the disability. Instead, the focus is on helping individuals gain independence by developing and maintaining meaningful social relationships. Indeed, relationship-building is a central tenant of this approach and is just as important for well being as traditional rehabilitation.
The Interdependence Network was created to:
- foster the development of new approaches to human-service programs that facilitate the building of social capital and community engagement for people with disabilities
- maintain a continuous quality-improvement program to track social capital-related outcomes at each agency
- disseminate information, research findings, and resources to the greater rehabilitation community
Dr. Al Condeluci, CEO of Community Living and Support Services (CLASS), organized the group in 2008 when publishing a special issue in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. That issue explored the impact of social capital and hypothesized how to address the high rate of social isolation among people with disabilities. Ever since, the Interdependence Network has continued to regularly meet, research, and develop new and innovative approaches to include social capital building efforts in services and supports for people with disabilities. The IN member agencies have shifted their emphasis from the traditional medical model approach to rehabilitation, which relies on teaching functional and adaptive skills, to the interdependence model, which builds and fosters social capital and social inclusion within communities as the primary strategy for enabling people with disabilities to become full members of society.