• A very high percentage of day programs reported they are full or very close to full. The longest waitlists seemed to be associated with program specialization and level of community engagement.
• A need for increased capacity for “high functioning” individuals who are capable academically and vocationally but need support with social skills and/or have mental health needs.
• A need for more individualized, flexible programs.
• Some individuals/families are still unprepared to identify and transition to an adult day program. For example, some individuals/families don’t begin to explore programs until the last minute, some individuals/families are unclear on the range of service options, some individuals/families are surprised when programs are full, etc.
• Insufficient capacity for non-ambulatory individuals.
• Non-English speaking individuals and families are currently receiving fewer services on average than English speaking individuals and families.
• Program development and transportation needs are not keeping pace with client population growth in most areas.
The Report recommendations included:
• Start-up funding to create new programs, including programs to address increasing numbers of autism cases.
• A regular needs assessment to determine day program capacity and identify resource development needs. It is important to quantify how many adults are without programs and why.
• Regional Center should provide training for case managers to ensure that they are up- to-date with their knowledge of day service options. Case managers should be encouraged to share the full range of options with individuals/families, especially during transition years. Some individuals may consider college or employment instead of a traditional day program, if they are given the opportunity to make an informed choice. Some trainings for case managers can be provided by existing community partners, with little or no cost to RCEB.
• Regional Center should explore the creation of additional day service options for “high functioning” populations, especially those who need support with social skills.
• Regional Center and community partners (e.g. DD Councils and Area Board) should begin preparing service providers and the local community for federal push toward integrated services (e.g. by hosting public information meetings).
• Improved coordination with school districts to more effectively prepare students for the transition to adult services.
• Regional Center should target underserved populations with future resource development (e.g. non-English speakers).
• Increased capacity for non-ambulatory individuals in local programs
The report emphasizes the systemic nature of these problems: “[C]ommunity-wide engagement is necessary, if we are to ensure that quality day services are available for all people with developmental disabilities in the future.” As the Task Force that developed this Report continues its work we will offer more information on this Blog.