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Developmental Disability Services

Developmental disability services assist children, adolescents, and adults who have a developmental disability to live, attend school, work, and recreate in their communities. Supports are provided to over 3,000 people by private non-profit developmental disability services providers throughout the state. Individuals or their families may also choose to self- or family-manage their own services with the assistance of an Intermediary Service Organization.

Most people with developmental disabilities in Vermont are actively involved in home and community life, working and living along with everyone else. Not everyone with developmental disabilities needs services. Of those that do need support, many people have only moderate needs. Those with more intense needs do require long term, often life-long supports, many at a very intensive level.

The Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) partners with people with developmental disabilities, families, guardians, advocates, service providers, and state and federal agencies to plan, coordinate and administer services to people with developmental disabilities. The Division provides funding for services, systems planning, technical assistance, training, quality assurance, monitoring and standards compliance. The Division also provides guardianship services to people with developmental disabilities who have been determined by the court to be in need of guardianship supports.

Services provided to people with developmental disabilities and their families must foster and adhere to the Principles of Developmental Services as outlined in the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996.

 

 


 

Services Include

Developmental disability services and supports offer a comprehensive range of services designed to support individuals and families at different levels of need. Services encompass a wide range of support options designed around the specific needs of an individual. Supports include:

  • Service Planning & Coordination
    Assists individuals and their families in planning, developing, choosing gaining access to, coordinating and monitoring the provision of needed services for a specific individual.
  • Community Supports
    Specific, individualized and goal oriented services which assist individuals in developing skills and social supports necessary to promote positive growth.
  • Employment Services
    Assist individuals in establishing and achieving career and work goals; includes employment assessment, employer and job development, job training and ongoing support to maintain employment.
  • Home Supports
    Services, supports and supervision to an individual in and around their residence up to 24 hours a day. This may include support to a person in his or her own home; sharing a home with others (e.g., in an apartment, group home, shared living arrangement); or who lives with his or her family.
  • Respite
    Services (hourly or daily) provided on a short-term basis because of the absence or need for relief of (1) a family member or significant others, or (2) shared living providers normally providing the care to individuals who cannot be left unsupervised.
  • Clinical Interventions
    Assessment, therapeutic, medication or medical services provided by clinical or medical staff.
  • Crisis Services
    Time-limited, intensive supports provided for individuals who are currently experiencing, or may be expected to experience, a psychological, behavioral or emotional crisis; includes crisis assessment, support and referral and crisis beds.

 

Information on related developmental disability services

  • Flexible Family Funding
    Funding is provided to eligible families of individuals with developmental disabilities to enhance their ability to live together. These income-based funds, determined by a sliding scale, are used at the discretion of the family.
  • Public Safety/Offender Services
    The focus of offender services is to keep the community and past victims safe while providing treatment and supervision to offenders with developmental disabilities who are not served by the Correctional system.
  • PASRR Services
    The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 established Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) which mandates the screening of all nursing facility residents and new referrals to determine the presence of mental retardation and/or related conditions and the need for specialized services. Services include pre-admission screening and development of community placements and specialized services. Specialized Services provide support to individuals with developmental disabilities who live in nursing facilities. These services greatly improve the quality of life for people living in nursing facilities by providing support to address social and recreational needs as well as the person’s overall well being.
  • Children's Personal Care Services
    Children's Personal Care Services (CPCS) is a state plan Medicaid program available to children under the age of 21, with a significant disability or health condition that substantially impacts care giving needs and/or the development or self care needs.
  • Office of Public Guardian
    The Office of Public Guardianship, acting under court authority, provides public guardianship where there is no friend or family member to serve as guardian, and the individual needs a public guardian to protect his or her rights or welfare. Vermont law provides public guardianship for: Adults with developmental disabilities and People age 60 or older with mental disabilities. Note that there is no public guardianship in Vermont for individuals between the ages of 18 and 59 with mental disabilities other than a developmental disability. The mission of the program is to assist and empower people under guardianship in making decisions and taking actions in critical life areas. Public guardians seek to diminish the need for public guardianship by identifying, training, and assisting private guardians; by encouraging and preparing individuals to make their own decisions; and by developing supportive community resources.

 

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Eligibility

Eligibility for services is determined by the designated agency in the county. If a person meets the eligibility criteria as a person with a developmental disability, he or she does not automatically qualify for funding. The additional step of determining if a person’s situation meets the funding priorities is also required for most services (Flexible Family Funding is an exception). Funding criteria are outlined in the State System of Care Plan (Chapter 6 Funding Process and Guidelines). Eligibility for funding, based on an individual needs assessment, is also determined by the designated agency.

The Division of Developmental Services’ Rules Implementing the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996 (Parts 1 and 2) govern eligibility.

  • Part 1 of the regulations for the Developmental Disabilities Act provides a definition of developmental disability and criteria for determining developmental disability for young children, school-age children and adults.
  • Part 2 of the regulations provides a definition of who is a recipient.

Young Children (1.01, 1.06)

A young child (not yet old enough to enter first grade) is considered a person with a developmental disability if he or she has:

  1. A condition which has a high probability of resulting in mental retardation; or
  2. Significant delays in cognitive development and adaptive behavior; or
  3. A pervasive developmental disorder (i.e., autistic disorder, Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegration disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) resulting in significant delays in adaptive behavior.

School Age Children & Adults (1.07, 1.08, 1.05)

A school-age child (old enough to enter first grade and younger than age 18) or an adult (age 18 or older) is considered a person with a developmental disability if he or she has:

  1. Mental retardation (i.e., significantly sub-average cognitive functioning documented by a full scale score of 70 or below on an appropriate standardized test of intelligence and resulting in substantial deficits in adaptive functioning) or a pervasive developmental disorder (i.e., autistic disorder, Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegration disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) which occurred before age 18; and
  2. Substantial deficits in adaptive behavior which occurred before age 18.

People Receiving Services on July 1, 1996 (1.14)

People with developmental disabilities and families who are receiving services on July 1, 1996, shall continue to receive services consistent with their needs and the system of care plan.

 

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Applying for Services

If you need developmental services please contact the Designated Agency (DA) in your local area and ask for an intake assessment (see "Providers of Services" below). When you first ask for services you will need to be assessed for the most appropriate program to meet your needs. Intake coordinators are located at each agency. They will schedule a meeting for you in order to complete the intake assessment.

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Intake coordinators will help you determine what programs and services might be helpful for you, and what you need to do to apply for services. Not all programs have the same eligibility criteria or services available, so it's important to work with the Intake Coordinator to agree on what your needs and strengths are, what services are available to you, and what you need to do to apply for services.

 

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Providers of Services

There are 15 private non-profit developmental disability services providers in Vermont, contracted by DAIL, who offer a variety of services to people with developmental disabilities. Supports include service coordination/case management, home supports, employment services, community supports, family and respite supports, clinical interventions and crisis services. The providers include 10 designated agencies that each cover a geographic region of the state and are responsible for ensuring needed services are available by providing services directly or contracting with other providers or individuals. Five providers are Specialized Service Agencies who also serve people with developmental disabilities. In addition, there is one Supportive Intermediary Services Organization to assist people and families to manage their developmental disabilities services."

Developmental Disability Service Providers listed by County.

Addison County

Bennington County

Caledonia County

Chittenden County

Essex County

Franklin County

Grand Isle County

Lamoille County

Orange County

Orleans County

Rutland County

Washington County

Windham County

Windsor County

  • Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont (DA)
  • Lincoln Street Incorporated (SSA)
  • Families First (SSA)
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    Program Contacts

    DDAS Contacts for Developmental Disability Services.

    • Developmental Disabilities Program Tech:
      Tammi Provencher
      Phone: 802-871-3064

     

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    Policies and Guidelines

    The following are policies and guidelines developed for Developmental Disability Services.

    • DDS Needs Assessment/Periodic Review
    • Health and Wellness Guidelines (March 2004)
      These guidelines were created because the Division of Disability and Aging Services is responsible for insuring the health and safety of people who receive Medicaid-funded developmental disability services.
    • Policy on Education and Support of Sexuality (January 2004)
      This document provides a clear statement about the rights of individuals receiving developmental disability services to learn about the risks and responsibilities of expressing their sexuality.
    • Flexible Family Funding Guidelines (Revised: July 1 2009)
      The Flexible Family Funding Program offers support to individuals with developmental disabilities and families to enhance their ability to live together.
    • Individual Support Agreement Guidelines (Revised: March 2003)
      An Individual Support Agreement is a contract between you, your guardian (if you have one), and your provider(s). If you are managing all or some of your supports, you are still required to have an Individual Support Agree (ISA). This agreement addresses your needs that you, your Designated Agency and others have prioritized through an individualized planning process.
    • Background Check Policy
      Performing background checks on individuals who work with vulnerable people is a component of preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation. This policy describes when a background check is required, what the components of a background check are and what is done if a background check reveals a potential problem.
    • Critical Health Care Decisions Policy (November 1996) (Updated 2007)
      A Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) policy that outlines the role of the public guardian when needing to make critical health care decision for adults with developmental disabilities for whom they are guardian. It includes an outline of the role of the Ethics Committee.
    • Human Rights Committee Guidelines (Updated November 2006)
      The purpose of the Human Rights Committee is to safeguard the human rights of people receiving developmental disability services in Vermont. The Committee will provide an independent review of restraint procedures proposed or occurring within the supports provided by the developmental disability service system. This document gives the guidelines utilized in the review of policies, procedures, trends and patterns, individual situations and individual behavioral support plans that authorize the use of restraint procedure.
    • Medicaid Manual for Developmental Disability Services (Supplement: January 1999)
      The Medicaid provider manual details the procedures for Medicaid-funded developmental disability services. This manual only outlines requirements for reimbursement of Title XIX services (Social Security Act covering Medicaid) including fee-for-service and home and community-based services.
    • Medicaid and Placement Out of State (May 2013)
      This document provides information to assist individuals who receive Vermont developmental disability Medicaid home and community-based services funding and who live out-of-state for the purposes of receiving treatment (i.e., shared living/developmental home) to not lose their Vermont Medicaid or SSI.
    • DDS Grievance Procedure (2009)
      A description of how to file a grievance (expression of dissatisfaction) with a Designated Agency (DA), Specialized Service Agency (SSA) or other provider of developmental services through Medicaid that does not involve eligibility or the authorization of the amount or duration of services. For example, grievances may relate to the quality of services provided or to interpersonal interactions between an individual receiving services and a provider. A grievance is distinguished from a complaint in that a grievance requires a written response.
    • DDS Appeal Procedure (2009)
      A description of how to file an appeal about a decision made by the Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS), a Designated Agency (DA), or a Specialized Services Agency (SSA) which has an impact on the amount or duration of services a consumer can have. This includes decisions around eligibility, type and quantity of services a consumer can have or the length of time a consumer can have a service.

     

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    Publications

     

    The following publications are developed for Vermont’s Developmental Disability Services. Contact the Division of Disability and Aging Services for a copy of reports that are not available on line.

    Annual Report

    Each year DDAS produces an Annual Report on the status of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities. In addition to information on supports and services, the report presents updates on the pressures that exist on community services, goals accomplished, funding information, and future directions. It is an excellent source of information on the Developmental Services system.

      • Annual Report 2013: Developmental Disability Services (January 2013)
        An annual report on the status of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.
        (This is a large document and may take a few minutes to open. If you would like a hard copy please contact Developmental Disability Services at (802) 241-2648

     

    Satisfaction Reports

    • Survey of Adults Receiving Developmental Services in Vermont (Spring 2013)
      Statewide report of the results of the consumer survey interviews of adults receiving services during the spring of 2013.  Individual agency reports are available by contacting the Division of Disability and Aging Services at 802-871-3065
    • Survey of Adults Receiving Developmental Services in Vermont (Spring 2012)
      Statewide report of the results of the consumer survey interviews of adults receiving services during the spring of 2012.  Individual agency reports are available by contacting the Division of Disability and Aging Services at 802-871-3065

     

    Training

    • In our Words (July 2000)
      A report from self-advocates in Vermont that identifies training priorities for their support workers.

     

    Advocacy

    • Green Mountain Self-Advocates Rights Video (2004)
      Contact the Division of Disability and Aging Services at DDAS Information Request or by phone at (802) 241-2648 to obtain a copy of the video or DVD.
    • How to be a Good Guardian
      A "plain-talk" pamphlet developed by Vermont self-advocates in collaboration with the Guardianship Services Program.

     

    Communication

    • Vermont Communication Resource Guide (2003) (Updated May 2012)
      A short booklet developed by the Vermont Communication Task Force that provides basic information on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

     

    Data Reports

     

    Other Useful Publications

    • DAIL-DDAS Service Codes and Rates
      Service Codes and Rates for all DAIL-DDAS services, includes Choices for Care, Adult Day services, Traumatic Brain Injury and Developmental Disabilities Services, Children's Personal Care and High Technology Home Care, and services for Older Vermonters.

     

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    Forms

    The following forms are used for Developmental Disability Services.

    General Forms

     

    Individual Support Agreement

    Local System of Care Plan

    Mandatory Disclosure of Information

    Petition for Guardianship Services (Family Court)

    Petition to Appoint a Private Guardian (Probate Court)

    Are having difficulty accessing any of the "Petition to Appoint a Private Guardian (Probate Court) Forms"?
    If your web browser shows that the form has downloaded completely but you do not see the form, click the "Back" button on your web browser and click the form link again. If the form still does not appear you can access the VT Judiciary Probate Court Forms website directly at: http://vermontjudiciary.org/eforms/probate.aspx. From this page you may access the above listed forms directly.

    Alternatives to Guardianship - Appointing a Health Care Agent

    A 2005 change to the Vermont law on health care decision-making makes it easier for a person with developmental disabilities to appoint a health care agent. DDAS has drafted a simplified form to assist individuals who simply want to appoint a health care agent.

     

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    Boards and Committees

    Developmental Disability Services has supporting committees that provide input, make suggestions, and perform supervision for those that use our services or provide those services.

    • State Program Standing Committee
      The State Program Standing Committee advises DDAS on the performance of the developmental disability service system with respect to hiring key management; evaluation of quality; State System of Care Plan; department policy; and complaints, grievances and appeals. The Committee shall also be involved in the agency designation and process. The Committee is comprised of 15 members, a majority of whom are disclosed consumers and family members. At least 25% of the committee membership must be consumers. The other members are made up of family members and professionals/advocates.
    • Local Program Standing Committee
      Each developmental disability service provider must be governed by a board made up of citizens who are representative of the demographic makeup of the area served by the agency.
    • Ethics Committee
      The Ethics Committee is a diverse group of people who have a personal or professional interest in the well being of people with developmental disabilities.
    • Human Rights Committee
      The purpose of the Human Rights Committee is to safeguard the human rights of people receiving developmental disability services in Vermont.
    • Vermont Communication Task Force (VCTF)
      The purpose of the VCTF is to improve supports for communication primarily for transition age students and adults with developmental disabilities so that they can communicate more effectively in order to participate more fully in community life, make decisions and better advocate for themselves.
    • Social Skills & Sexuality Education & Research Network (SSERN)
      The Network is comprised of Division of Disability and Aging Services staff, developmental services provider staff and self-advocates interested in developing policy, expanding resources across the state, and offering increased opportunities for education in relationship-building, personal safety and healthy sexuality to people receiving services and their circles of support.
    • Sex Offender Discussion Group
      Monthly meetings of the Sex Offender Discussion Group provides ongoing training and support of case managers and direct support staff who work with offenders.
    • Public Safety Funding Committee
      The Legislature appropriated funding to specifically address public safety issues posed by adults with developmental disabilities.
    • Equity Committee
      The Equity Committee manages the New Caseload Fund, Equity Fund and High School Graduate Fund.

     

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    Legislation, Statutes and Regulations

    The following legislation, statutes and regulations are related to Developmental Disabilities Services.

    • Act 248
      The Vermont Statutes Online, Title 18: Health, Chapter 206: Care for Mentally Retarded Persons. Vermont’s civil commitment law for people with mental retardation.
    • Regulations Implementing the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996 (March 2011)
      A copy of the actual regulations implementing the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996. They include definition of developmental disability, criteria for being a "recipient"; certification; application, assessment and notification; periodic review; recipients who are able to pay; special care procedures; complaint procedures and training.
    • The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996 Amended Booklet
      The Vermont Legislature enacted a new law about services for people with developmental disabilities during its 1996 session. The law went into effect July 1, 1996. This booklet summarizes the key points; a copy of the complete statute is available online from the legislative website.
    • Administrative Rules on Agency Designation (Effective June 1, 2003)
      These administrative rules governing the selection of designated agencies outline the requirements an agency must meet in order to be designated (or re-designated), the responsibilities of agencies that are designated, and the process for designation, re-designation and de-designation.

     

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    Training, Conferences and Events Calendar

     

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    Other Resources

    • The National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD)
      NADD is the leading North American expert in providing professionals, educators, policy makers, and families with education, training, and information on mental health issues relating to persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

     

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