The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has undertaken a series of efforts to encourage friendships and community inclusion among the people they support. Regulations, policies and practices may be obstacles to promoting social integration and the kind of relationships that DDS would hope to see as a part of people’s everyday lives. Better understanding of people’s experiences with making friends, having relationships, being involved in the community, identifying what is working well, and what may get in the way, is paramount to crafting a social inclusion policy.
CDDER investigated, through a series of focus groups and interviews, the barriers to and successes of social inclusion policies and practices in the community. Focus groups and interviews held across the state included self advocates, families, direct support professionals, group home managers, participants in Creating our Common Wealth, DDS service coordinators, DDS Human Rights Staff, DDS Quality management staff, and DDS area directors. Results and recommendations for improving a person’s involvement with their friends and neighbors are included in the white paper.