Life Choices System Transformation - What's This All About?

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

If you need any of this information in an accessible or alternative format, please contact DHS.DDD.Life.Choices@illinois.gov


Life Choices Initiative

Transforming the service delivery system for all people with Developmental Disabilities in Illinois to:

  • be healthy and safe
  • have real relationships with family and friends
  • have a paying job if they want to work
  • make decisions about their lives
  • have opportunities to contribute to their community

History and Overview

In the fall of 2012, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) partnered with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to "improve the design and delivery of the supports and services in the developmental disabilities system" in Illinois. This system improvement was later named the Life Choices Initiative. At that time, Life Choices focused mainly on streamlining the Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) system and improving service planning, implementation and monitoring. Six Work Teams were developed to provide input into these areas and make recommendations on other systemic changes that were needed. The work teams included family members, Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agency representatives, provider agency representatives, and trade organization representatives. The ICDD, NASDDDS and DDD serve as the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee oversees the project, considers each recommendation and determines how to move forward.

In January of 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published Federal regulations, regarding Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which impacted the course of the Life Choices Initiative. These regulations went into effect beginning in March of 2014 with an implementation date of March of 2019. The regulations impact all 1915c HCBS Waivers, which includes all three DDD Waivers: Children's Support Waiver, Children's Residential Waiver and Adult Waiver. The CMS regulations address three broad areas: Conflict Free Case Management, Person Centered Planning and Home and Community Based Settings requirements.

The purposes of the regulations are to ensure that individuals receiving long-term services and supports in the HCBS Waiver programs have full access to the benefits of community living. The regulations also ensure that people have the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate. The regulations regarding Conflict Free Case Management and Person Centered Planning were directly related to the work that was already underway in Life Choices and so these were incorporated into the Initiative. Given the original intent of Life Choices, coupled with the new CMS regulations, the Initiative developed into a system's transformation.

Life Choices System Transformation

Work Teams

Steering Committee

Frequently Asked Questions