Life Choices Project - 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

for all people with DD 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

New Item To ReadLife Choices Webinars - use links provided to sign up for webinar: 

We ask that each developmental disabilities provider agency participate in at least one of the scheduled webinars. The "overview" information will be the same for each webinar but the questions from participants vary. Continuing education credit is available for those attending a webinar. (Participants may attend as many of the webinars as desired but CE credit may be claimed for only one session).  After all the webinars are complete, a list of Frequently Asked Questions will be compiled and shared on the DHS website (with a link to those FAQs included in an upcoming edition of the DDD Scoop).


Life Choices Team Assignment Grid (xlsx):  This document lists the projects that our Life Choices Teams and personnel in the Division of Developmental Disabilities have recommended and developed.  The document also lists the status and any comments that are relevant.  As achievements are reached, or changes have to be made, this document will be updated.


What's This All About?

This initiative will increase opportunities for community options and improve quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. We wish to improve major steps in our system so that people with developmental disabilities and their family members have smoother and easier-to-understand processes for entering the system and getting services. We need to grow our community's capacity to provide more and better supports as people make the transition from State-Operated Developmental Centers and Intermediate Care Facilities/Developmental Disability settings. We will streamline practices and create consistency in developmental disability system processes across the state.

  1. People who need supports and services, and their families need up-to-date and accurate information about their role and decisions related to choice of services.
  2. There is a need for consistency with the federal Balancing Incentive Program and federal CMS requirements that service plans be person-centered and conflict-free.
  3. About 3,000 people need to be supported, as required by the Ligas Decree, by June, 2016.This requires improvements in eligibility determination, identification of, and access to, services needed.
  4. About 900 people will make the transition from ICF/DD settings by June, 2016.
  5. Ligas Decree requirements for Transition Plans, meaningful Prioritization of the Urgent Needs for Services (PUNS) system and timely eligibility determinations.

What are the next steps?

  1. A streamlined and simplified eligibility determination process. Eligibility for developmental disability services will be determined directly after screening is complete.
  2. Updated PUNS through input received from listening sessions around the state.
  3. Medicaid HCBS Waiver eligibility will be completed within the time frame of start of HCBS services.
  4. Person-Centered Plan will be developed with the person, their ISC and family members.
  5. People will use their Person-Centered Plan to select service providers.
  6. ISSA will monitor services to assure their delivery is the same as what is in the person's Person-Centered Plan.
  7. Providers will continue to write the Individual Support Plan (ISP) demonstrating how they will deliver the services.
  8. Form teams among ISC agencies, service providers, self-advocates, family representatives, DDD staff, and other stakeholders to develop the details of how each new process will occur.
  9. Identify resources and funding support.
  10. Revise policy manuals to reflect the changes.
  11. Train all ISSAs on the new process.
  12. Inform service provider agencies of the details of the new processes.

Roles Related to Support for the Teams

  1. Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) Senior Executives: serve as steering committee
  2. DDD Staff Support:  Logistics; Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for each subject area; Project Lead Manager to oversee progress and liaison with Senior Executives
  3. ISC/ISSA Agency Executives:  participate in steering committee - and check in with representatives to stay knowledgeable about recommendations, requests for input, and final decision made
  4. ISC/ISSA Agency Program Managers/Supervisors:  participate on Teams as SMEs
  5. National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) Consultants:facilitation, design group exercises to accomplish the work; track decisions and recommendations made
  6. Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (DD Council):  oversight and consultants

Helpful Team Meeting Documents