Peer Exchange Increases Focus on Choices for IDD Community

With CSH serving as the facilitator, over 20 policymakers from the State of Illinois traveled to Missouri this week to learn how the Show Me State has dramatically improved community integration by creating more opportunities for IDD residents to be supported in a home of their own.

Missouri is enthusiastically embracing person-centered supportive housing and is committed to ensuring that individuals with a developmental disability can choose a place to live on their own and get the supports they need to thrive.

The team from the Missouri Department of Mental Health Developmental Disabilities (DMH-DDD) met with their counterparts from Illinois and elaborated on their efforts to:

  1. Promote collaboration through the formation of housing development partnerships.
  2. Elevate regional services coordinators to emphasize meeting the needs for independent living.
  3. Strengthen services delivery overall.

Missouri DMH-DDD Division Director Val Huhn also focused on how Missouri is using technology to ensure IDD residents have access to services that provide them with the maximum independence, dignity and safety, Director Huhn outlined the Technology First Initiative and how it is prompting her colleagues and partners to think about effectively leveraging tech when considering the best ways to provide support for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Kathy Ward, who serves as the acting Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities (DHS-DDD), says she is excited by what Missouri shared with her delegation during the exchange. According to Director Ward, she looks forward to "shaking things up" based on what she heard in Missouri and is planning several debriefing discussions with members of her DHS-DDD staff to capitalize on what they learned.

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