By Cindy Adams


Brandon Mitchell was diagnosed with autism as a young child. For nearly three decades, his family has advocated for the support he needs to live a full and abundant life. It is a key reason they remain a part of the enCircle family.

Brandon is a 2011 Roanoke Minnick School graduate. His home is in Franklin County, Virginia, where his mom is licensed as a Family Care Provider through enCircle.

"After Brandon graduated, we had some really good caregivers," his mom, Beth, said, "and we had some that weren’t so good, but what we really needed was consistency. Brandon is happier with an established routine, and we were struggling to find reliable care."

Now, they no longer worry about whether a caregiver is coming or who it might be because in 2013, Beth filled that role. A Medicaid waiver allowed her to leave her Pre-K teaching position and start developing a care plan for her son instead. They investigated several agencies to work with and chose enCircle because of their successful Minnick experience.

During Brandon’s educational years, there were limited autism resources in the special education programs in their area. They were thrilled to find Minnick, where Brandon began receiving tailored support. Almost immediately, his challenging behaviors decreased, and they discovered he could read.

 "We immediately knew this is where we were supposed to be," Beth said. "We had been through so much trying to find appropriate support. When we walked into Minnick, I felt a sense of calm, and Brandon was grinning. I knew he was happy, and that is what we want for him."

Brandon’s fundamental contentment has presented itself again now that Beth has taken on the role of Family Care Provider. The transition was easy.

"EnCircle helped us license our home, and they provide ongoing training," Beth explained. "The managers have been very supportive of our family. The activities they sponsor give Brandon a sense of community and allow us to meet people in similar situations. It is great fellowship."

Her decision to become a Family Care Provider has benefited the entire family.

"Being a Family Care Provider has allowed me to be more available to my family. It has strengthened our bond, provided us income, and ensured quality care," Beth said. "It has given us all peace of mind."

Beth believes that some people are intimidated by the training and the paperwork, but she says it’s not a hardship whatsoever.

"People think it’s overwhelming, but it’s not," Beth said. "We are given the resources we need; the training is helpful, the management team is kind, and the support is a relief. We are very blessed."

Learn more about becoming a Family Care Provider.