Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

ICFs as Inclusive Communities

For the family members, friends and guardians of ICF residents, the consistent provision of highly specialized supports – assured by annual federal oversight surveys – is the highest priority.  Beyond care, however, these residents also have a life. They are integral members of their communities – both on campus and off.

Read VOR's "Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs/MR): Inclusive Communities and Good Neighbors" (January 2011)

See also, VOR's comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which, in part, address defining “Home and Community-Based Services" [see VOR comments here (p.  5, Defining Home and Community Based Services)].

Community Services Checklist

VOR supports individual and family choice. For some individuals, an ICF/MR setting best serves that person's specialized and intense needs. For others, a community setting is desired and more appropriate. 

Individuals and families who are considering a transition to community placement must be educated about all community-based options. Any transition should occur only with the approval of the family and guardian, and only after a period of intense scrutiny of available community options.

Families and guardians have many things to consider when evaluating competing choices. Every person viewing a program sees different areas of importance and priority that determine whether that program and provider are acceptable or unacceptable. It is a very personal choice.

To aid in that process, a “Community Check List” document has been prepared that contains many questions to ask of potential providers, and things to look for.

Credits: The Community Check List was first developed by Polly Spare, the past President of VOR. PROOF, a VOR affiliate in Kentucky, with the help of Anne Montgomery and the Council on Mental Retardation (Section 6), provided updates.  

Kentucky's Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership

If you thought college was out of the question, think again. Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership (PIP) supports qualified students with developmental disabilities to acheive their higher education goals. Check out the PIP brochure or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.at 859-977-4050 ext. 243 for more information.

The Importance of Guardianship

Disclaimer: The following is a great overview of the “frequently asked questions” about guardianship. It was written with Texas guardianship laws in mind, however, much of it generally applicable to any state. You are encouraged to seek the assistance of an attorney in your state when pursuing guardianship.

The Importance of Guardianship

Parent Association for the Retarded of Texas (PART) Newsletter
“No better ADVOCATE than the parent or family”
June 2010

Once a person turns 18, his/her parents are no longer considered the natural guardian.  This is true even if the individual has a disability such as mental retardation.  Parents no longer have the legal authority to make decisions for the adult with a disability unless they are appointed their child's guardian by a judge.  This means that the law presumes that the person with a disability can make all of his/her own decisions.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal process whereby someone is given the authority by the court to make decisions regarding major life decisions such as medical care, living arrangements, and sometimes financial management and act on behalf of a person who lacks the ability to comprehend and do those things for him/herself.  The process is designed to protect an individual who cannot make decisions for himself/herself from being exploited, abused or neglected.

Community Resource Centers

Across the country, individuals with developmental disabilities who reside at home or in community-based services face long waits for needed services, such as health care, dental care, OT/PT, and even wheel chair adjustments. Many of these people with mental retardation or developmental disabilities simply go without. 

It doesn't have to be that way.

VOR supports the expansion of specialty out-patient clinics situated at existing licensed residential facilities - Community Resource Centers. The facilities already provide highly professional, specialized care to their residents. Rather than reinvent the wheel, VOR has promoted using the existing services and infrastructure to bring these services to nonresident neighbors of the facility.

It is more than pipe dream. It is a proven model. The following are some examples of community resource centers that have helped people with mental retardation or developmental disabilities.

  • Northern Virginia Training Center's Regional Community Support Center, Fairfax, VA
  • Regional Evaluation and Assessment for Community Habilitation (REACH) Clinic, Hogan Regional Center, Hathorne, MA
  • University of Louisville School of Dentistry / Hazelwood Center’s Developmental Dentistry Program,  Louisville, KY
  • Hazelwood Campus / Medical Clinic and Homes, Louisville, KY
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Department of Medicine’s Developmental Medicine Program, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center, Shoreline, WA
  • Tachachale Dental Clinic, Gainesville, FL
  • Higginsville Habilitation Center, Higginsville, MO