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ACL Announces Grants to Enhance HCBS Systems for People with Developmental Disabilities

October 27, 2017

ACL awarded three grants totaling $1.35 million a year for five years to help develop and test model approaches for enhancing the quality, effectiveness, and monitoring of home and community-based services (HCBS) for people with developmental disabilities. The projects funded by the new grants began on October 1. 

These Model Approaches for Living Well grants, awarded as Projects of National Significance by ACL’s Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, are focused on building the capacity of HCBS systems and enhancing community monitoring to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The grants seek to strengthen HCBS systems and promote the health, safety, independence, and participation of people with disabilities. Grantees will work with a broad coalition of state stakeholders to:

  • Support professionals working directly with people with disabilities
  • Promote the leadership of self-advocates and families
  • Promote the use of evidence-based and promising practices such as supportive decision making, person-centered planning, and competitive integrated employment
  • Address abuse and rights violations in the HCBS delivery system
  • Increase the capacity of states to provide HCBS in integrated settings.

Three University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) received grants: 

  • The Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia
  • The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire,
  • Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University

Each will collaborate with a number of partners, including their State Medicaid Office, and at least one agency that provides direct services to people with developmental disabilities. All will be guided by advisory committees which include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and family members. 

Highlights for each project include:

The Living Well Georgia Project at the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia will develop a model for improving the quality and effectiveness of HCBS services to adults with I/DD. Specific goals for this project will include:

  • Improving the HCBS quality infrastructure through capacity building and enhanced monitoring using innovative training and reporting technologies;
  • Increasing staff knowledge and skill in supporting self-determination and community inclusion for people with I/DD;
  • Professional and career development for direct support staff to meet demand for services;
  • Developing a replicable model of collaboration between HCBS stakeholders to enhance quality.

Planned products include a ‘blueprint’ for enhanced quality monitoring using electronic records, a guide for enhancing quality through targeted staff development, a conceptual framework of the model for replication, and publications/presentations on project successes and challenges.

The New Hampshire Quality Framework project at the Institute on Disability (in collaboration with key partners including the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities, Community Support Network, Inc., ABLE New Hampshire, People First New Hampshire, Disability Rights Center New Hampshire, and New Hampshire Bureau of Developmental Services) will include:

  • Improving training for service providers on enhancing HCBS access and quality by developing self-advocate led trainings and assessing and improving existing trainings.
  • Using evidence-based practices and tools to assess systems and develop effective training to help people with disabilities advocate for their rights.
  • Evaluating and improving the use of the Health Risk Screening Tool, an instrument designed to detect health destabilization.
  • Creating and executing a plan that promotes organizational, financial, and community sustainability. 

Project Living Well at the Virginia Commonwealth University will work with its partners to create a replicable and sustainable model  establishing a  replicable and sustainable regional leadership teams that have expertise, access, and decision-making authority.  The model will be centered on four core elements:

  1. Capacity building (e.g., training, support, coaching),
  2. Monitoring (e.g., facilitated review of multi-level data to make changes, for quality continuous improvement, and to develop benchmarks).
  3. Policy feedback loops connect policy to practice. Regional successes, barriers, and outcomes learned through ground level implementation will be translated to state-level policy and regulatory conversations and decision-making.
  4. Organized, expert implementation support

A key feature of Project Living Well is the creation of a bank of evidence-informed capacity-building strategies that address required elements of the Project Living Well model including: abuse prevention, person-centered practices, peer support, career discovery, and greater use of small-residence housing innovations.

ACL also will conduct an independent evaluation of the projects’ scalability, sustainability, and effectiveness. This evaluation will inform future investment by ACL in similar initiatives, as well support the sharing of best practices and replication of successful models in other states. 

UCEDDs are a nationwide network of independent but interlinked centers, representing an expansive national resource for addressing issues, finding solutions, and advancing research related to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Projects of National Significance focus on the most pressing issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families. Through the project, AIDD supports the development of national and state policy and awards grants and contracts that enhance the independence, productivity, inclusion, and integration of people with developmental disabilities.

Last modified on 05/07/2020

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