What are self-directed services? Self-directed services allow many individuals experiencing disabilities, or their representatives, to have decision-making authority over certain services and take direct responsibility for the management of their services with the assistance of a system of available supports. Self-direction promotes personal choice and control over the delivery of services, including who provides the services and how services are provided. For example, participants are afforded the decision-making authority to recruit, hire, train and supervise the individuals who furnish their services.
Beginning in the 1990s, New Hampshire, along with many other states, began to offer “consumer-directed” personal care services. During the mid-1990s, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded grants to develop “Self-Determination” programs with self-direction of Medicaid services being a crucial aspect of self-determination. Community Bridges offers self-directed services to many individuals in central New Hampshire and encourages all families to begin thinking about the advantages of this approach.
The core of any self-directed services is the person-centered plan and the resulting service agreement. A service plan is a written document that specifies the services and supports provided to meet the preferences, choices, abilities, and needs of the individual. The service agreement also assists individuals in directing services and supports to remain active members of their communities. The budget is built on this plan and is individually tailored in accordance with the individual’s needs and preferences.
Knowing that individuals have a choice and control over personal finances, families with young teens should consider how self-directed services can fit into their lives after graduation. It’s never too early to think about this option and to ask your Service Coordinator at Community Bridges how it may fit into your future plans. We believe that this should be the first option for consideration.