National Organizations Release Toolkit to Help Stakeholders Advocate for Strong Implementation of HCBS Settings Rule

a toolkit graphicThe Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C., along with other disability and aging advocacy groups, has issued a Toolkit to help advocates push for strong implementation of the new Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rules in their states.

The new HCBS Settings Rules require all settings funded by Medicaid HCBS programs to:

  • provide opportunities for participants to be integrated in and engage in community life,
  • have access to the community,
  • control their personal resources,
  • provide opportunities for people to seek employment and work in competitive integrated settings, and
  • ensure the person receives services in the community to the same degree of access as individuals not receiving Medicaid home and community-based services..

For these new rules to have “a real impact and move states towards more integrated and individualized services, advocates must get engaged now and push for a strong transition plan,” said Alison Barkoff, Bazelon’s Director of Advocacy. All states have already submitted to CMS their initial transition plans, and CMS has provided feedback to states about needed improvements and next steps for amending and implementing their plans. “The next several months are a critical time for advocacy because that is when states will be making important decisions about their transition plans,” she said.

a graphic of  the letter 'i' for informationThis new toolkit provides advocates with detailed information about the HCBS Settings Rule and provides action steps for advocates to impact implementation of the new rules in their states. The toolkit contains three documents:

  1. The Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Settings Rules: What You Should Know;
  2. Home and Community-Based Services Regulations Q&A: Settings Presumed to be Institutional & the Heightened Scrutiny Process, and
  3. The Home and Community-Based Settings Rules: How to Advocate for Truly Integrated Community Settings (unabridged and abridged).

States have until March 2019 to transition their HCBS programs into full compliance with the new settings requirements. The Bazelon Center developed this toolkit with a coalition of other disability and aging advocates working together for strong implementation of the HCBS Settings Rule.

Which Types of Settings are Affected?

Type of Setting

Provider-Owned or Controlled

Residential Providers*
  • Group Homes
  • Family Centered Support Homes
  • Shared Living
  • Certain PNMIs
Non-Residential Providers
  • Adult day health centers
  • Center-based community support
  • Enclaves and sheltered work shops

*Rules apply to the setting in which a member receiving HCBS is living, whether or not the member receives HCBS in that setting.

The Bazelon Center’s advocacy around the HCBS Settings Rule is funded in part by the Ruderman Family Foundation.


Want more information?

To learn more, see and, a website with up-to-date information about the rules and states’ implementation maintained by several member organizations in the coalition.

To see a copy of the Statewide Transition Plan (STP) that was submitted by Rhode Island or any other State, click here.

The Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities“The Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities” is a national project from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) and UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD.

The Supporting Families project involves six states (Washington State, CT, DC, TN, MO, OK) working to develop systems of support for families throughout the lifespan of their family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Supporting Families project is operated under a five year grant awarded to NASDDDS by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) beginning October 2012. The goal is to build capacity through a community of practice across and within States to create policies, practices and systems to better assist/support families that include a member with I/DD across the lifespan.

Supporting people with disabilities to live and fully participate in their local communities throughout their lives has emerged as a fundamental right and consideration in disability policy and practices. Because of the role that families continue to play in the lives of their family members, future policies and practices must reflect the family as part of the system of support.

“Supporting the family” is defined as a set of strategies targeting the family unit but that ultimately benefit the individual with I/DD. “Supporting the family” strategies are intended to assist family members who have a key role in the provision of support and guidance of their family member with I/DD to address the emotional, physical and material well-being of the entire family.

Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities - round supports chart

“Charting the LifeCourse” is a framework developed through the project to help individuals and families of all abilities and at any age or stage of life develop a vision for a good life, think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live. Informational materials/resources are available on the website listed below.

Innovations in Supporting Families - Free Webinar Series Banner

A FREE webinar series is available focused on innovative strategies to enhance the systems that support families of individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities.


For more information:


Governor Raimondo Signs “ABLE ACT” into RI Law

Governor Raimondo signs the ABLE Act into lawThe “Achieving a Better Life Experience” (ABLE) account program for individuals with disabilities federally recognized investment accounts similar to 529 college savings programs.

See Governor’s Press Release:
For more information on the ABLE Act:

Your Chance to Speak Up: 2015 Public Forums for People with Disabilities

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Public Forums to Identify the Concerns of People with Disabilities and their Families

During the week of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed on July 26th), the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and many other state and non-profit agencies conduct a weeklong series of open forums to hear the concerns of people with disabilities and their families.

The forums are open for anyone to come in and speak; representatives of the sponsoring agencies will be there to listen. State policy makers and planners want to hear your concerns about current services, unmet needs, and suggestions for improving services and expanding opportunities.

Monday, July 27, 2015 | 3:45 – 5:45  PM

South Providence Library
441 Prairie Avenue

Hosted by Perspectives Corporation

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 2 – 4 PM

Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane

Hosted by the Ocean State Center for Independent Living

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6 PM

Peace Dale Library
1057 Kingstown Rd
Peace Dale

Hosted by National Multiple Sclerosis Society RI Chapter

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6  PM

Middletown Public Library
700 West Main Rd

Hosted by Opportunities Unlimited For People With Differing Abilities

Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 1:30  – 3:30  PM

Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital
2090 Wallum Lake Rd

Hosted by Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital

Thursday, July 30, 2015 |  4 – 6  PM

Woonsocket Harris Public Library
303 Clinton St

Hosted by RI Department of Health

Friday, July 31, 2015 | 2:45 – 4:45  PM

East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Ave
East Providence

Hosted by RI Statewide Independent Living Council and National Federation of the Blind of RI

Additional information from the governor’s Commission on Disabilities about attending the Forum:

Remarks can be made in person during the forums, faxed to 401-462-0106, e-mailed to, or mailed by August 8th to:

Governor’s Commission on Disabilities
John O’ Pastore Center
41 Cherry Dale Court
Cranston, RI 02920

CART Recorders (real-time captioning) and assistive listening devices will be at all sites, courtesy of the Office of Rehabilitation Services/Assistive Technology Access Partnership. The RI Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will provide sign language interpreters for each forum.

To request information or accommodation, please call 401-462-0100 or 401-462-0101(tty) in advance; arrangements will be provided at no cost. Language interpreting is available with the Deptartment of Human Serivces and requests can be made to 401-462-2130 in advance.

When making the ADA reservation with RIde to get to and from the public forum, tell the RIde reservationist (1-800-479-6902) that this trip is for the Governor’s Commission’s Public Forums in order to guarantee your return trip, after normal RIde hours of operation. ADA fare is still applicable.

When attending the forum, please use unscented personal care products. Mild fragrances can constitute a toxic exposure for a person with an environmental illness.

Trauma Informed Care Conference Will Pave Way for RI System Transformation

On March 9, the DD Council partnered with the Sherlock Center, RIDE, DCYF and BHDDH to sponsor a one-day training on Trauma Informed Care.

We were fortunate enough to bring Joan Gillece, Ph.D., Director of SAMHSA National Center for Trauma Informed Care to RI to speak about trauma for people with developmental disabilities. In addition, Janice LeBel, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of Program Management, Child and Adolescent Services, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health spoke about the impact of trauma on the brain. Also featured was the Dan Habib film “Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Their Stories.”  Nearly 160 people attended, representing virtually every facet of care for adults and children with developmental disabilities.

The training emphasized the concept of “comfort instead of control” when treating people with a history of trauma. The day was focused on building “empathy with” rather than “sympathy for” traumatized individuals.

Feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive, with many people expressing a desire to maintain the momentum and excitement of the day in their own practice. The DD Council supports further efforts to facilitate implementation of this crucial element of treatment for traumatized individuals. We will be exploring ways to make the Trauma Informed Care concepts available to all.

Wil Beaudoin, Chairperson
RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC)

The presenters have kindly provided the materials from their presentations:

SAMHSA’s Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Assumptions and Principles, Dr. Joan Gilles


The Neurobiological & Psychological Effects of Trauma, Dr. Janice Le Bel

PowerPoint | PDF

Moving Forward: Building Bridges Towards Systems Transformation and Making Trauma-Informed Care Real, Dr. Janice Le Bel

PowerPoint | PDF

Please note: files are large and may take some time to download