We help individuals live in their community of choice by improving access to long-term home and community-based supports and assisting those who want to transition from institutional care into the community. The Commonwealth’s commitment to ensuring and creating meaningful community living options for people with disabilities is reflected in our broad goal of Community First. We embrace a vision of choice and opportunity that requires more accessible and effective long-term supports.

There are many steps we are taking to implement this plan, but one of the hallmarks has been the decision to close four DDS institutions, which are on target for full closure by the end of FY13. These efforts are being matched by other important community care expansions and changes. DDS has continued to meet its obligations under the Rolland settlement and over the last three years has transitioned 489 individuals into the community and will complete its obligation under this settlement by the close of FY12.

In addition, our work to transition individuals from nursing facilities also continues through the work of the Independent Living Centers who support the transition of approximately 200 individuals each year and the two Acquired Brain Injury Waivers, administered by MRC, which, by the close of FY13, will have transitioned an additional 300 individuals. At the beginning of FY13, MRC will also initiate two new waivers, which will provide transition and ongoing services and supports for 700 people in the community over the next four years. We also support thousands of individuals each year to live as independently as possible in the community and through these efforts we divert hundreds of nursing facility admissions every year.

To improve accessibility for people with disabilities, we aid individuals in the utilization of or access to assistive technology, durable medical equipment, communication access or mobility assistance that has allowed them to live and maintain an independent lifestyle in community-based settings. Additionally, our efforts support competitive employment opportunities, assist individuals with support services, vocational rehabilitation services and job placements with good wages and benefits. For example, over 22,000 consumers actively receive public vocational rehabilitation services each year and more than 15,000 of these individuals, including transition age youth, are engaged in post-secondary education and training programs.

Our work is not complete. Individuals with disabilities continue to need quality supports to thrive and work within their community settings of choice and attain the necessary skills to achieve self-sufficiency. Additionally, providers and systems need to evolve to ensure physical and communication access is available for all Massachusetts residents.

Strategic Goals

  1. Increase the use of home and community-based settings as an alternative to institutional care
  2. Expand access to home and community-based long-term supports while also improving the capacity and quality of supports
  3. Provide innovative person-centered services focused on consumer choice and self-determination
  4. Increase accessible and varied job development, job creation and support opportunities for people with disabilities in competitive and integrated settings
  5. Promote skill development for youth with disabilities in preparation for a productive adult life
  6. Ensure the availability of physical and communication access for individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth

This information is from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.