A new pilot project is enabling more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to move from the Austin State Supported Living Center to a home they have chosen in the community, by obtaining additional help from their local authorities. In the first two months of this pilot project, which started on Sept. 1, 2012, four individuals moved out of the SSLC.
The Department of Aging and Disability Services approved the pilot activities on July 24, 2012. Austin Travis County Integral Care has lead responsibilities since the Austin SSLC is located in its geographic area. In this pilot, Austin Travis County Integral Care staff are actively involved in the transition process for individuals, beginning with the Community Living Options Information Process. Local authority staff are also building relationship with each individual interested in transitioning under this pilot, which will continue through and after placement in the community.
Austin Travis County Integral Care is coordinating closely with Bluebonnet Trails and Hill Country local authorities since the majority of individuals currently at Austin SSLC are originally from those three authorities’ areas. Austin Travis County Integral Care anticipates working with approximately 30 local authorities across the state that are expected to have at least one resident express an interest in transitioning to their area.
Local authorities started using the Community Living Options Information Process in January 2008 to help ensure SSLC residents are aware of community-based alternatives and to identify supports and services individuals need in their preferred living option, including safety, mobility, medical, behavioral, psychiatric, and work or day activities. The new pilot also uses funding from the state’s federal Money Follows the Person rebalancing grant.
The pilot project provides the following supports for people at Austin SSLC and their legally authorized representatives who express a desire to move to the community:
- exploring community alternatives and individualized visits to community service providers;
- enhanced community planning and preparation (person‐directed planning); and
- intensive, post‐move service coordination, in addition to targeted case management.
This project is focused on the Austin SSLC as part of an effort to reduce the number of residents there because of ongoing safety issues and other infrastructure concerns regarding the facility. It is also intended to help meet a requirement in the Department of Justice 2009 settlement agreement for 90‐day monitoring of individuals when they leave an SSLC, in addition to other requirements to improve medical, dental and psychiatric care at the facilities over five years.
DADS staff initiated discussions this year with the Texas Council of Community Centers and the local authorities that are now involved in order to increase partnerships and improve the transitions of individuals who choose to move to homes in the community. This discussion resulted in the current pilot project, and DADS staff expressed hope this summer that activities started through the pilot will expand to other areas of the state. DADS also hired an attorney this year to provide information and assistance to judges about alternatives to commitment in an SSLC.
For details on the Community Living Options Information Process, visit the Local Authority page on the DADS website (scroll down to bottom of page).