Moving Beyond the Developmental Center - DHS 4312

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

IDHS 4312 Moving Beyond the Developmental Center (pdf)

Moving Beyond the Developmental Center:

A Guide to Help Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Find New Homes

It is the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) highest priority to provide programs and services that promote personal growth, self-respect and dignity so all individuals with developmental disabilities are valued as contributing members of their communities.

This includes helping individuals, their guardian and family make choices about moving out of State Operated Developmental Centers and into new homes more integrated in the community. We will work with you step-by-step to develop a transition plan and help you select a provider from a wide range of options that best meet your needs.

This brochure describes the transition process, the range of options available to you, and provides some questions you, your guardian and family should consider when selecting a new home.

Steps for Transitioning to a Community Agency

All individuals who choose to transition will take a series of steps to select a new home. Guiding you along the way will be a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring you find the best possible living arrangement.

This team includes representatives from the:

  • Center
  • Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agency
  • Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • New service provider you select

Step 1: Give Consent

To start the process, you, your guardian and family must consent to enter the transition process. Contact the social worker at your Center to let them know you want to begin the transition process.

Step 2: Determine Eligibility

A local Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agency will confirm your eligibility and assist in determining the types of services and programs for which you are qualified.

Step 3: Discuss Options

The ISC agent will meet with you and your guardian to discuss the options that are available in the communities of your choice.

There are currently 350 agencies throughout the State of Illinois that serve people with developmental disabilities. While independently operated, these providers must meet high quality standards established by the State of Illinois and the federal government.

These providers offer:

  • Home-like settings located in neighborhoods
  • On-site direct care staff
  • Engaging day programs
  • Access to community resources including grocery stores, libraries, restaurants, etc.

Step 4: Identifying Your Choices

After reviewing the options, you, your guardian and family can request to receive more information from a number of community providers.

Step 5: Site Visits

We strongly encourage multiple visits to the locations you are considering. It is important to observe, first hand, the types of services being provided and ask questions directly of both those who are providing and receiving services. A representative from the Center and a potential provider will arrange the type of visit that may be helpful in making this selection. We want this to be an individual process done at your own pace.

On the next page, we provide a list of questions that should help guide the decision process when meeting with potential providers. See "Questions for Community Providers."

Step 6: Making Your Selection

After meeting with and visiting the community providers of your choice, you, your guardian and family will choose the provider that is best able and willing to meet your needs.

Step 7: Developing the Plan for Transitioning

Once a decision is made, you, your guardian and family, representatives from the Center, Independent Service Coordination (ISC), Division of Developmental Disabilities, and the new community provider will work together to finalize the individual Transition Plan.

This plan ensures continuity of services when you move from a Center to the new home. It describes your needs and abilities, services required and personal preferences.

Step 8: MOVE-IN

The Center and new community provider will work with you, your guardian and family to ensure a safe and smooth transition to the new home on the date established in the Transition Plan.

Step 9: On-Site Follow Up

Representatives from the Center, Independent Service Coordination (ISC), and Division of Developmental Disabilities will visit and contact you to ensure a smooth transition.

If you would like to contact a family member of an individual who transitioned from a State Operated Developmental Center to community services call:

Division of Developmental Disabilities

Bureau of Transitional Services


Questions to Help You Select a Community Provider

While selecting a new provider is a highly individualized process, we have developed a set of general questions to help you gather as much information as possible. The following is only intended as a guide and should not take the place of in-person visits.

  • How long has the agency been providing services?
  • Is there an individual, guardian or family currently being served by the agency who would be willing to meet to discuss their experiences?
  • Have the agency and staff provided services for individuals with needs and abilities similar to my needs and abilities?
  • Will I get along with people living in this house?
  • Describe a typical day here.
  • What day programs are available?
  • Do individuals attend day programs affiliated with another agency?
  • Is there paid employment available at the day program?
  • Can I get a job in the community?
  • What types of leisure activities are available, such as going to the store, bank, movies, restaurant, etc.?
  • Can I participate in Special Olympics?
  • Will you support me with banking, shopping and other activities?
  • How do I access services such as transportation, medical care and therapies?
  • How frequently does the agency communicate with or update guardians?
  • What method(s) do you use for updating guardians (phone, email, mail)?
  • What is communication like in the case of a medical emergency?
  • What is communication like if there is a behavior or medical issue?
  • Does the agency have a resident and/or guardian advisory body?
  • What is the structure of the house?
  • Do I have my own room or do I share a room?
  • Do individuals participate in meal preparation?
  • How many bathrooms are available for the individuals?
  • Do individuals have televisions in their bedrooms? Is there cable?
  • Do individuals and/or guardians serve on the Board of Directors?
  • If yes, how many?
  • What is their role?
  • What are the agency's visitation and leave policies?
  • What is your policy on visitors to the home?
  • What is your policy on visiting family?
  • What is the agency's staffing plan?
  • How many staff members are onsite at any given time?
  • How long are their shifts?
  • What is the ratio of staff to individuals served?
  • What is the plan when there is an emergency and a staff member needs to leave the home?
  • What type of training is required of staff?
  • What is staff turnover like?
  • What internal safeguards are in place to prevent abuse and neglect?
  • What are your policies if abuse and neglect have been identified?
  • Have allegations of abuse and neglect been made at your agency?
  • Ask for data and reports (substantiated, unsubstantiated, and unfounded) from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
  • Is there an advocacy group that I can join in the area?

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities will provide quality, outcome-based, person-centered services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The system of services and supports in Illinois will enhance opportunities for individuals to make real choices and receive appropriate, accessible, prompt, efficient and life-spanning services that are strongly monitored to ensure individual progress, quality of life and safety.

If you would like to contact a family member of an individual who transitioned from a State Operated Developmental Center to community services call:

Division of Developmental Disabilities

Bureau of Transitional Services


Contact the Illinois Department of Human Services' (IDHS) 24 hour automated helpline:

1-800-843-6154 or

1-800-447-6404 (TTY)

You may speak with a representative between:

8:00 am - 5:30 pm

Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

The following is an automated number directing the caller to local DD service information:

1-888-DDPLANS or

1-866-376-8446 (TTY)

Contact us via mail at:

Illinois Department of Human Services
319 East Madison, 4M
Springfield, IL 62701

Visit our website at:

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4312 (R-05-15) Moving Beyond the Developmental Center  Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.

100 copies P.O.#15-1856