Policy Research Brief

A series of briefs summarizing recent research on a range of policy issues affecting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • The U.N. Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): A Status Report

    A brief reviewing which countries have signed and/or ratified the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). About 10% of the world's population lives with a disability. Unfortunately, many countries lack comprehensive legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities. In response, the CRPD was negotiated at the U.N. over several years, adopted in 2006, opened for signature by all countries and regional integration organizations in 2007, and commenced in 2008. A country's ratification of the CRPD affirms the country's belief that persons with disabilities have fundamental rights that must be protected, supported, and reinforced (U.N., 2007). As of July 2014, there are 159 signatories and 156 ratifications and accessions to the CRPD. While the United States is a signatory to the CRPD, the country has not ratified the convention. Many countries have either ratified or signed the CRPD, but political instability in a few countries has resulted in inaction. (Publication Date: September 14, 2015)

  • Employment for People with Disabilities in Poverty: A Need for National Attention

    A brief investigating poverty and disability. The second in a series, the purpose of this brief is to provide an in-depth national and state understanding about poverty and disability by investigating how people with disabilities in poverty fare in the labor force and employment, compared to those without disabilities. Using an array of online, interactive visual features, it also provides a series of state-specific infographic tools that can be used in advocacy and educational efforts. (Publication Date: February 17, 2015)

  • Understanding Community Poverty, Housing, and Disability

    A brief aiming to provide policy makers, advocates, and researchers a tool to better understand the pervasiveness of poverty affecting people with disabilities, both locally and across the nation. By providing detailed comparisons across every county in the nation using an array of online, interactive visual features, the impact of poverty on people with and without disabilities is detailed in meaningful ways, especially the relationship between poverty and housing. Among the findings, the brief shows that poverty affects people with disabilities at much higher rates across the vast majority of U.S. counties, and these poverty rates have a direct relationship with local housing indicators (Publication Date: October 01, 2014)

  • Residential Setting and Individual Outcomes: An Assessment of Existing National Core Indicators Research

    A brief providing states with information to help their new policy and service developments comply with regulatory criteria that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services specified in March 2014 regarding the character and location of residential services for recipients of Home and Community-Based Services waivers and state plan services. States must evaluate existing services to ensure such programs afford individuals with disabilities the same access to the community as persons without disabilities. This *Policy Research Brief* investigates the relationship of residential setting and individual outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who use public programs by analyzing the findings of all peer reviewed studies using the National Core Indictors, a state system-level performance and outcome research program. Findings show that, overall, people living in smaller settings, such as their own home, a family or foster home, or small agency home experienced better individual outcomes than those living in larger settings. This brief displays those findings using an array of online, interactive visual features. A PDF version of each section of the brief is available from a link at the end of the relevant Web page. (Publication Date: July 01, 2014)

  • Employment First Across the Nation: Progress on the Policy Front

    A brief presenting Employment First across the nation through an array of online, interactive visual features that allow users to investigate the various Employment First policy approaches that states have implemented over the last decade. Employment First policies are spreading across the country as a mechanism to improve employment support systems and outcomes for people with disabilities. This new *Policy Research Brief* connects readers with the actual policies in states and additional resources to advance employment of people with disabilities. (Publication Date: March 01, 2014)

  • A Taxonomy for Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A brief examining postsecondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which is on the cusp of major growth thanks to recent federal policy and grant initiatives. Unfortunately, information regarding programs and schools serving this population is limited, thus constraining students' and families' ability to understand the offerings of individual programs and make informed choices among them. This is due both to the rapid increase in programs and the lack of a clear set of relevant characteristics to allow for programmatic comparisons. This issue of *Policy Research Brief* offers a framework for comparing the features of the growing number of programs, and lays the foundation for further study and comparison of program outcomes. The taxonomy is based on research conducted by Mary McEathron, Trisha Beuhring, Amelia Maynard, and Ann Mavis of the Evaluation Group at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. (Publication Date: February 14, 2013)

  • A Review of Commonly-Used State Employment Measures in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services

    A brief summarizing publicly-available data sources that provide information about the employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It provides important information about these data sources, including their purposes, key definitions, and where to access the public data. Using these data sources, a state-by-state comparison of employment outcomes is conducted to provide readers with a picture of the employment landscape for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Finally, a discussion about how the data can be used, and the limitations of the data, is provided. The analysis was conducted at the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC). It reviews data gathered in 2010 and 2011. (Publication Date: December 12, 2012)

  • A National Review of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    A brief reporting findings of a study that gathered data in 2009-2010 about how people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are being served across states in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver programs and discussing implications for providing services and supports for this growing population in the future. Autism spectrum disorders are among the fastest-growing developmental disability diagnosis in the U.S. This increased diagnosis, coupled with the large number of children with ASD now reaching adulthood, highlights the need to learn more about the services and supports that are currently available for adults with ASD, and consider those that will be needed throughout their adult lifespan. The focus in this issue of *Policy Research Brief* is on the extent to which states have included people with ASD in their Home and Community Based Services Medicaid waiver programs, the programs that have, in recent decades, been the primary source of funding support for individuals with intellectual disabilities and related conditions (such as ASD, cerebral palsy, and others) who are living in the community. Historically these systems were designed to primarily meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, and they present certain challenges when looked to as a source for specialized funding and support services for adults with ASD. (Publication Date: December 19, 2011)

  • Behavioral Outcomes of Deinstitutionalization for People with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities - Third Decennial Review of U.S. Studies, 1977-2010

    A brief reviewing U.S. studies that have measured behavioral outcomes associated with the movement of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities from institutions to community residential settings. This is the third in a series of such reviews, and it is cumulative; it includes the studies contained in the earlier reviews published in 1989 and 2001. (Publication Date: April 01, 2011)

  • Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - A Critical Review of the State of Knowledge and a Taxonomy to Guide Future Research

    A brief reviewing the state of knowledge and research practice in the emerging field of postsecondary education for students with intellectual and other learning-related developmental disabilities. It concludes with a proposed taxonomy to better organize and structure research and program descriptions in support of an improved knowledge base. (Publication Date: February 01, 2011)

  • Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - A Critical Review of the State of Knowledge and a Taxonomy to Guide Future Research

    A brief reviewing the state of knowledge and research practice in the emerging field of postsecondary education for students with intellectual and other learning-related developmental disabilities. It concludes with a proposed taxonomy to better organize and structure research and program descriptions in support of an improved knowledge base. (Publication Date: February 01, 2011)

  • Family Support Services in the United States: 2008

    A brief providing a state-by-state summary of services supporting individuals with disabilities living in the family home. Data presented are based on the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project, a longitudinal study of public financial and programmatic trends in intellectual and developmental disabilities services and supports in the states. The State of the States project is funded in part as a Data Collection Project of National Significance from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, by the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and by the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado. (Publication Date: May 01, 2009)

  • Implementation of Consumer-Directed Services for Persons With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities - A National Study

    A brief summarizing the results of a national study on the status of consumer-directed services for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The study was conducted at the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living and Syracuse University's Center on Human Policy, and its purpose was to investigate how consumer control is being implemented across states. Additional themes included the exploration of strategies, challenges, and best practices of consumer-directed services and supports. Information was gathered through interviews with administrators of developmental disabilities services in 42 states. The content is based on the comprehensive study entitled: "Implementation of Consumer-Directed Services: A National Study." (Publication Date: January 01, 2009)

  • Innovative Models and Best Practices in Case Management and Support Coordination

    A brief describing models, innovations, and best practices in case management and support coordination for persons with disabilities. The approaches presented were identified during a study exploring the redesign of case management services for people with disabilities in Minnesota, and have broader applicability to other states as well. This brief is based on the technical report ["Redesigning Case Management Services for People with Disabilities in Minnesota: A Report to the Legislature"] (http://rtc.umn.edu/docs/DHS-5062-ENG.pdf). (Publication Date: April 01, 2008)

  • A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities in Relation to SSI Redetermination

    A brief presenting selected findings from a study and literature review describing the experiences of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and nonrecipients and their families in relation to the age 18 redetermination process, and in relation to their efforts to achieve postschool employment, independent living, and related community participation outcomes. (Publication Date: July 01, 2007)

  • The Inclusion of Disability as Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights in State Codes

    A brief examining state policies regarding termination of parental rights, focusing on the extent to which states use disability status as grounds for termination. (Publication Date: October 01, 2006)

  • Family Support Service in the United States

    A brief providing an overview of family support services in the states based on data gathered for the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project, a longitudinal study of public financial and programmatic trends in intellectual or developmental disabilities (ID/DD) conducted by the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry and the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado, Boulder. (Publication Date: February 01, 2006)

  • Status of Institutional Closure Efforts in 2005

    A brief examining and summarizing the research and policy issues that state policymakers may face as they consider whether to increase, reduce, or close institutions in their own states. (Publication Date: September 01, 2005)

  • Costs and Outcomes of Community Services for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A brief reviewing available research on the costs and outcomes of community service provision for people with intellectual disabilities (or "mental retardation") and developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on residential services. It focuses on a number of key issues related not only to public expenditures, but also to funding systems, related policies and regulations, and their impact on service systems, on specific service types, and on service users. (Publication Date: May 01, 2004)

  • Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services - The First 20 Years

    A brief reviewing the implementation of the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services "waiver" program during its first 20 years, from Fiscal Year 1982 through Fiscal Year 2002. The review provides a description of the program, its initial purposes, patterns and trends in its use, its relationship to other services, and challenges in the years ahead. (Publication Date: September 01, 2003)

  • Wages of Direct Support Professionals Serving Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - A Survey of State Agencies and Private Residential Provider Trade Associations

    A brief summarizing the results of a survey of state agencies administering services for persons with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) and state-level residential service provider trade associations. The purpose of the survey was to gather and summarize available state-level information on wages paid to direct support professionals (DSPs) within each of the states. (DSPs are the individuals who provide the ongoing person-to-person support needed by people with ID/DD to carry out their daily activities.) In addition to wage statistics, the survey also gathered information on legislative and other initiatives within the states to affect DSP wages. Data collection included a brief survey to which key informants responded via mail or by telephone interview. Reports related to DSP wages, legislation, and other documents related to wage policy or related initiatives were also obtained and abstracted. (Publication Date: March 01, 2003)

  • Alternative Schools and the Students They Serve - Perceptions of State Directors of Special Education

    A brief reporting on findings from interviews conducted with 49 state directors of special education (or their designees). Recent data collected from a national survey estimates that about 12% of all students in alternative schools are students with disabilities. Yet we know very little about the nature of the instructional programs offered, special education processes and procedures in place, accountability practices, and outcomes for these students. In addition, we do not have complete descriptive information on the kinds of alternative schools and programs currently in operation. The brief describes their perceptions of (a) basic characteristics of alternative schools, (b) major issues for alternative schools, (c) major issues for state education agencies, (d) major issues for students with disabilities, and (e) educational reforms impacting alternative schools. The brief concludes with a discussion of trends that require further study. (Publication Date: January 01, 2003)

  • Health Status, Health Care Utilization Patterns, and Health Care Outcomes of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities - A Review of the Literature

    A brief reviewing the current literature in the area of health care needs of people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and allied medical conditions, looking at the degree to which such individuals are or could be receiving medical care in the community. It provides a summary of research relevant to improving the service delivery system by addressing barriers to community medical care and services, determining what services are needed, and developing strategies and assurances for provision of quality medical care. (Publication Date: September 01, 2002)

  • Family Support for Families of Persons with Developmental Disabilities in the U.S.: Status and Trends

    A brief summarizing the trends in family support services for families of persons with developmental disabilities in the U.S. based on longitudinal study conducted by the authors. (Publication Date: June 01, 2001)

  • "No Right is More Precious" - Voting Rights and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A brief reviewing U.S. laws that impact, and present barriers to, the exercise of voting rights by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Publication Date: May 01, 2000)

  • Behavioral Outcomes of Deinstitutionalization for People with Intellectual Disabilities - A Review of Studies Conducted Between 1980 and 1999

    A brief reporting the results from a review of 38 published studies that measured behavioral outcomes associated with the movement of people with mental retardation from public institutions to community residential settings. (Publication Date: October 01, 1999)