In-depth Policy Analysis
The Council is actively collaborating with state leaders in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a broader understanding of what is needed in the field to move forward. Examples of our efforts can be found in the recent Summit Initiative.
A major conference of North Carolina's leading experts in the developmental disabilities field, organized by the NCCDD, called for a thorough review of state policies in this area to help the state meet the challenges of the future. The panel said North Carolina is facing fiscal and demographic trends that will impact the state's ability to expand community services. Longer waits for needed services will result, and more people will be required to live with their parents well into adulthood.
In addition, Summit participants said the difficulties now being experienced in recruiting and retaining direct care assistants are exacerbated by the growing need for long-term care and support for the aging "baby boomers." To meet these needs and other demands for service, the Summit participants suggest working with the community colleges and the university system to incorporate training in developmental disabilities into their programs, and they recommend that licensing and quality standards for providers be reviewed to increase quality performance and to weed out substandard care providers.
Called "Looking Forward: A Summit on North Carolina's Developmental Disabilities System," the study involved 35 state leaders on these issues and was co-chaired by Senator Katie Dorsett, Representative Verla Insko, and Robert Rickelman, Ph.D., the chair of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.
"The Summit is unprecedented in the history of this state, with the people most knowledgeable about developmental disabilities coming together… on 'best practices' thinking is remarkable," said Dr. Rickelman.
To advance the overall goal of community participation, the report recommends identifying individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in adult care and nursing facilities and ensuring that they get needed individualized support in the most integrated settings possible. Incentives should also be created that reduce admissions to congregate facilities, whether public or private, and nursing home admissions of people with I/DD should be discouraged in favor of a "medical home" in the community. Financial incentives should be available to help with the costs of transitioning people to homes in the community.
Greater independence and decision making for people with I/DD should be encouraged, with individuals and families given the support and tools needed to control, within federally established guidelines, how their resources are used and their individual budgets. The Summit said housing should be addressed by ensuring that resources are available for secure, affordable and accessible homes in the community, together with the supports needed to remain there. Employment was another major area addressed, with the goal of increasing job opportunities, assessing the reliance on congregate work and day settings, and removing barriers to public and private employment.