INDEPENDENT CHOICES: A National Symposium on Consumer-Direction and Self-Determination for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities. Self Determination

Beth McArthur
Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation

What have we accomplished?

  • Self Determination/Individual Support for over 430 people
  • Funding of $10.5 million to support individuals
  • Opportunities for families to utilize the concept to support children and young adults
    • 62 children under 18
    • 118 young adults 18-25
    • 42% of all participants are 25 or younger
  • Availability of 20 brokers to support individuals and their circles
    • 3 additional brokers to be hired by June 30th
  • Comprehensive training for brokers, private sector and regional staff
  • Generated great interest among individuals and families
    • FY 00/01 biennium added 151 people
    • Over 60% of all new development was with Individual Support
  • Regional pilots for broker selection
  • Choose regional liaisons
  • Initiated cooperative ventures with private providers
    • 46 traditional private providers support people
    • 6 new providers support people
    • Creative pilots to transition from traditional services
  • Established fiscal intermediaries -- individual choice
  • Created individual automated budgets
  • Provided people with the option of hiring staff or using providers
  • Amended the contracts to make money portable
  • Created a provider director

New Directions

  • Individual Support and Self Determination is the preferred approach and a new way of "doing business"
  • Waiting List Initiative: creates the concept of systemic individual funding that is to be self-directed
  • Expand the availability of brokers through redeployment and research of a parallel private sector model
  • Create the function of Self Determination Directors
  • Refine and standardize the concept of portable resources
  • Seek Medicaid reimbursement for Individual Support
  • Allow families to access the Connecticut Job Bank
  • Create individual budgets for all school graduates
  • Issue protocols for:
    • Individual budget development
    • Individual Support agreement development
    • Individual planning
    • Broker selection
    • Fiscal Intermediary selection and contract employment management protocols

Remaining Challenges

  • Is Self Determination linked to the availability of new resources?
  • How will we have a significant impact on people who wish to leave group residential settings?
  • How will we develop and sustain circles?
  • What will we do for people in crisis?
  • How will we nurture and sustain brokers?
  • How will we keep person centered planning fresh?
  • How will we standardize and not overly bureaucratize our approach?
  • How will we not "drift" as a result of implementation pressures?
  • How will we utilize the principles for people at some level who live with others?