Good Work! Story about ODDS system
Heather Tymm, left, is one of the people receiving services and supports from Southern Oregon Regional Brokerage. With her is Robin Mouser, SORB director. Robin has an extensive background in the I/DD world and has been the SORB executive director since 2014.
Our Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) provides vital services to Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It also operates a little differently than other DHS programs. One reason is because most of its direct case management services are provided by partner entities, not by state employees.
The other is that ODDS provides services across the entire lifespan. That lifespan approach requires deep, ongoing connections with the person with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and oftentimes their families. It's an approach that puts the person with I/DD at the center. To understand why this approach is so strongly engrained in ODDS, it helps to know their story.
The report recommended the institution be located in a "secluded valley, upon whose sunny slopes these simple people might dwell away from the public gaze."
That guidance for siting the "State Institution for the Feeble-Minded" in 1907 began nearly a century of peoplewith intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) living their lives in institutions, segregated, away from their families, away from their communities.
"In the early days, many children with disabilities didn't have the right to go to school," says Jasper Smith, Benton County Developmental Diversity program manager. "Families were told that the institution was where kids would get the best services and supports."
After families won the right for all children to be educated in local schools, Benton County parents started a pilot project in 1971. "They used a service coordinator model," says Jasper. "A staff person helped the child and parents identify what they needed and developed community resources to help them stay in their school and in their home communities and not be institutionalized."
The pilot project went statewide in 1973, with policy provided by the state and services through counties. These programs are called Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDPs). Today, some CDDPs are run by county governments and others are operated by non-profit agencies that contract with ODDS.
In the 1990s, people with I/DD won the right to leave I/DD institutions. New programs called Support Services Brokerages helped adults put together paid and unpaid supports to live successfully in the community.
"Rather than forcing people to choose institutions, Oregon closed them, and restructured services to expand home- and community-based support," says Robin Mouser, director of the Southern Oregon Regional Brokerage (SORB).
Today's I/DD system is built on critical partnerships between ODDS, CDDPs and Brokerages, provider agencies, self-advocates and families to help people live successfully in their communities. For a few hundred children with significant needs, ODDS employees serve as the case managers. All of ODDS' case management entities, partners or state staff,coordinate with other areas of DHS to support children and adults with I/DD
The front door to services is a CDDP where eligibility is determined. Eligible children get support through CDDPs. Adults who receive in-home services can choose either a CDDP or Brokerage. There are nuances to those options, as you can see in the diagram.
Larry Deal, director for the Independence Northwest Brokerage notes that "Complex services should exist to serve the needs of people. If you try to draw an overall picture, it would be hard to follow. Straight lines aren't how you get people what they need."
Focusing on the person is what matters. "We look at everything through the prism of that person and help them articulate what they need," says Robin. "We understand they have choices and the dignity of risk. We meet them where they are at and use paid and unpaid services to help them have full lives throughout their life."
"Oregon's system was built on a solid core," says Jasper. "The idea that you have a human-to-human connection to identify and coordinate supports is a solid model."