Thursday, January 2, 2014

Finding services and programs for individuals with developmental disabilities

 As family members, guardians, and loved ones of an individual with developmental disabilities begin to seek services and assistance for their loved one, they often become overwhelmed - QUICKLY-
The process can be extensive and confusing.  Where to start?  Who to contact? What programs are available?  Who can help me?

 I receive calls daily from families that are in need of services and assistance but are unsure where to begin or who to contact.  Many do not understand how the funding is provided or how to apply for it.   Some families are in crisis and can not wait for an award letter to arrive.  To assist families and individuals in requesting help and guidance with the processes, I have compiled some links and resources that can assist you in expediting the process.

The first step is to contact the local PAS agency or ISSA.  This agency will assist in the eligibility and the application process.  The application process consists of a form called the PUNS.  To assist you in how the PUNS works, please see the link below.    

Microsoft Word - PUNS - The Basics.doc - GE_PUNS_the_Basics.pdf

After the screening and PUNS is completed, individuals often wait.  In some circumstances, crisis funding can be requested.  To determine if your situation constitutes a crisis, you will need to discuss this with the PAS or ISSA who assisted you in the screening.  

If you are seeking residential placement (a group home setting), you may want to explore the option of an ICF/DD facility.  ICF/DD facilities vary in size (from 4 bed facilities to 16 bed facilities to larger).  An ICF/DD facility is governed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and adheres to a strict set of regulations regarding the services and care the facility provides.  An ICF/DD facility is funded differently and the funding for the residential service is secured to the facility, thus there is no wait list or award letters that must be met prior to attaining the service.  Once the individual has been screened and the PAS has determined the individual meets the critera to be defined as developmentally disabled, an individual is eligible for the residential services of an ICF/DD facility.

   According to Illinois Health Care Association, and ICF/DD is explained as :

" Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) are facilities providing 24-hour residential care to three or more individuals with developmental disabilities. These facilities are licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as ICFs/DD and are certified for Medicaid participation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Intermediate Care Facilities for Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD).
ICF/DD provide specialized services encompassing everything from personal care to intensive nursing, depending on the setting. ICF/DD offer a variety of services to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities while enhancing their quality of life. Supports and comprehensive training in practical life skills such as mobility, socialization, employment, and recreational opportunities are designed to help individuals acquire skills necessary for maximum independence.
The comprehensive approaches to helping individuals residing in ICF/DD acquire the skills necessary for maximum independence is referred to as "active treatment." Active treatment refers to aggressive, consistent implementation of programs of specialized and generic training, treatment and health services.
ICF/DD must adhere to an extensive set of state and uniform federal regulations and are subject to unannounced on-site inspections, as well as on-site surveys when complaints are filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health."

Along with residential services, an ICF/DD will ensure the individual with disabilities has access to developmental day training services.  In fact, an individual residing in an ICF/DD facility is immediately eligible for day training services as the ICF/DD facility contracts with day training providers to provide services to their residents.  The types of  Day training services are explained below:
  • Developmental Training (DT) Programs that prepare individuals 18 years of age or older to live and function in social setting with people with developmental disabilities and promotes independence in daily living and economic self-sufficiency.
  • Supported Employment offers supervision, training, counseling, coaching and follow-up services to maintain individuals with developmental disabilities in competitive jobs at an integrated work-site.
  • Vocational Development offers time-limited supports including, but not limited to work adjustment training, vocational evaluation, skills training, and placement.
 (from Illinois Health Care Association at
 If you would like to explore the services available in an ICF/DD facility, you can request more information from the PAS agency or ISSA who assisted in the screening and PUNS.  If you need assistance in locating a PAS agency, click the link :

Or, please feel free to contact one of our management team at or by completing the contact form below.  We would love to show you and your loved one the services and programs we offer.  If we are unable to meet your needs, we can also refer you to other ICF/DD providers in the area.  

For more information on residential services, programs, funding and assistance in locating services for individuals with developmental disabilities please visit

Welcome 2014 - A brief note from the Administrator

     As we embark upon 2014, I am excited to share our goals for the upcoming year!  Our agency encountered many political and environmental challenges throughout 2013, and we successfully managed to meet those challenges head on, without reducing any of our services, specialized programming, or individualized approaches.

      Much of our ability to maintain our standards and philosophy of care is due to the supportive attitude and assistance from the family's, friends, and guardians of our residents.  2013 blessed us with a network of supportive families, friends, and guardians   dedicated to our philosophy of an individualized client centered careplan, thus enabling the implementation of the goals and programs across all environments.

     As we head into 2014, one of our priorities is to continue to promote involvement and input  of  families, friends and guardians of our residents in the many aspects of our resident's lives.  We look forward to working together as a team to develop and implement a careplan that meets each indiidual's unique needs, interests, desires, and dreams. 

      One means for us to reach out to families, friends, guardians, and communities is through our creation of this blog.  I hope you will take some time to explore the pages for information specific to each facility, such as the activities, resident council meetings, and schedule of events.  Pages have been created to announce opportunities we have for volunteers and employment, the latest news related to developmental disabilities and residential services, and residential openings within our facilities.    If you would like to offer suggestions, have concerns, or would like to make an inquiry, please visit our Contact us page for a list of our management personnel and contact information.

     Please come back and visit us often, as we will update our information and schedules of events so that you can stay informed and up to date with what each facility is up to.