FAQ Regarding I/DD Provider Organization Responsibilities for Sexual Education Assessment

1.  Where can I access the legislation that outlines the sexual education law?

2.  What types of I/DD provider organizations must comply with the law?

  • All I/DD provider organizations that contract with the state to provide habilitative services including CILA, ICFDD, CLF and day services must comply with the law. 

3.  My organization only provides Community Day Services, do we have to comply with the law?

  • Yes, all Day Service programs are considered a "developmental disability facility" as referenced in the statute and are required to comply with the law. 

4.  Does the law apply to State Operated Developmental Centers?

  • Yes, State Operated Developmental Centers must comply with the law.

5.  Do faith-based organizations have to comply with the law?

  • Yes, faith-based organizations that contract with the state to provide habilitation services in a developmental disability facility must comply with the law. 

6.  Where can I access resources to help my organization comply with the law?

7.  Is there a licensure or degree required by staff who will be completing activities related to our responsibilities?

  • No, among the resources posted on the above websites are some considerations organizations should make in selecting staff that will be involved in assessment and education activities. Additionally, there will be forthcoming train-the-trainer curricula and instruction focused on this topic.

8.  Is there a specific assessment tool that must be used?

9.  Is there specific curricula that must be used. The Illinois Department of Human Services has posted sanctioned curricula that organizations may select to use for sexual education?

  • If an organization wishes to use a different curriculum, it must receive prior approval per the process outlined on the website. 

10.  What role do guardians play in deciding whether someone is assessed or has access to training?

    • According to the Act, if an individual has a court-appointed guardian, the guardian is to be part of the treatment team that determines a person's decision-making capacity to consent to sexual activity and developmentally appropriate sex education materials and resources. Guardian decision-making shall be made in accordance with the court order of appointment and the standards of decision making established by Section 11a-17 of the Probate Act of 1972 which include substituted judgement first and then best interests second. Probate Act information about the standards of decision making can be found at the the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission website. The website also includes a Guardian Fact Sheet regarding the law.
  • 11.  If someone has expressed no interest in sexual education or activity, do we have to assess them and make them participate in sexual education?
    • People expressing no interest in sexual education or activity do not need to participate in an in-depth assessment and/or education. The organization should document their rationale for determining the person does not want to participate and re-visit the topic if the person expresses interest at some point in the future. Consideration should be given to whether the person is in need of education regarding self-protection. 

12.  How do we decide what staff should be involved in conducting assessment and education activities?

  • In deciding which staff will be involved with activities in this area, it is important to consider the skills and sensitivity that staff possess. This should include awareness and sensitivity to potential past trauma, knowledge level of staff, and comfort level of staff. The provider will also need to consider the integrity of staff to treat people with a high degree of respect. Gender compatibility may also be a consideration. 

13.  How often does an assessment have to take place?

  • The law does not mandate a schedule for assessment. Organizations may want to consider re-visiting the previous assessment during the annual planning process to confirm it continues to accurately reflect the person and/or determine that an update is warranted. 

14.  What are the requirements for determining a person has the capacity to consent to a sexual relationship?

  • The Act states that: "As part of the assessments, consideration shall be given to medical, psychological and psycho-social evaluations." In addition, the Act requires the following: "The person's decision-making capacity to consent to sexual activity and the developmentally appropriate sex education materials and resources shall be determined by the treatment team that includes the individual, professionals who have knowledge of the individual, and the individual's guardian, if appointed." Considerations for provider organizations to make in designing the assessment process are included on the Illinois Department of Human Services resource page

15.  Is our organization financially responsible for assisting people to access personal materials/items to support their interests?

  • No, individuals are responsible for purchasing any materials/items to support their own interests. This does not include educational materials and resources which is the agency responsibility. 

16.  What is our responsibility if a person expresses interest in a sexual relationship, but the assessment indicates he/she does not demonstrate capacity to consent?

  • The Act requires that the treatment team determine consent capacity and developmentally appropriate materials. Conflicts over sexual expression rights and sex education should be addressed through the treatment planning process that includes the individual, professionals who have knowledge of the individual and the individual's guardian, if appointed. The assessment process should explore the person's understanding of a "sexual relationship" as it may mean something different to the person (such as holding hands or dancing) than the strict definition of the term. A sexual rights statement is also available on the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission website

17.  Our organization does not offer formal classroom training; are we required to offer sexual education classes?

  • Sexual education does not need to take place in a classroom environment; the curricula available on the Illinois Department of Human Services web page can be used in a variety of settings. 

18.  Our organization has a process in place for assessing interest and risk in this area, do we have to do something different than what we are already doing?

  • The Bureau of Quality Management (BQM) will be evaluating provider compliance during quality reviews and will offer guidance/direction to provider organizations for assuring compliance with the law. 

19.  Who will tell us if our current practice is adequate for meeting the requirements of the law?

    • See above item.
  • 20.  Do all people we support have to participate in some form of sexual education?
    • No, if a person shows no interest in pursuing sex education, they do not have to participate in any activities in this area. If a person demonstrates risk for potential abuse/exploitation by others, the provider organization should address this through the risk assessment process already in place.