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IDD Policy in Michigan – Quick Read

Intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are lifelong conditions that impact an individual’s ability to learn, communicate, and engage with their surroundings. People with IDD require specialized support and care to lead fulfilling lives, but access to such care can be challenging due to a range of societal, economic, and policy-related barriers.

In terms of IDD policy in Michigan, the state government has implemented several policies and programs to address the needs of individuals with IDD and provide support to their families and caretakers. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) oversees the majority of programs in the state that provide assistance and support services related to IDD care, including employment assistance, educational opportunities, assessments, diagnosis, treatment, care coordination, and assistance with daily living activities. 

One of the most significant IDD programs administered by the state is the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver. The Medicaid HCBS Waiver allows people with IDD to receive essential care and support services in their homes or community-based settings by providing financial assistance for personal care, respite care, transportation, and therapy.

The program has been instrumental in providing individuals the opportunity to live in their communities, rather than in institutions. This is consistent with the growing trend toward person-centered IDD care, which emphasizes individual choice and autonomy. An added benefit is that providing care in the community is less expensive than providing care in institutional settings.  

Another far-reaching state-coordinated service for IDD care is the Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) program. The MRS program, which is a statewide network of vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals, provides vocational rehabilitation services to teens and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The program offers a range of IDD services such as job coaching, skills training, and job placement assistance. The goal of the MRS program is to help people with IDD prepare for, pursue, and retain appropriate employment opportunities, fostering independence, self-esteem, and quality of life for this community. (more on IDD policy in Michigan here)

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Additionally, providing equitable access to educational opportunities is an essential element of caring for individuals living with IDD. The Michigan Office of Special Education (OSE) is the agency responsible for implementing and coordinating support and resources for these individuals. This office is designed to help children and young adults with IDD achieve their educational goals and succeed in school. The agency provides educational support to those with IDD from birth to age 25, offering a range of services such as individualized education plans (IEPs), specialized instruction, and assistive technology. Assistance and training for families and guardians are also provided. 

Michigan also has an active group within the state created to respond to and advocate for the needs of the IDD community at a policy level. The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council—or MiDDC—is a federally funded, self-governing body that promotes the inclusion and integration of individuals with IDD in Michigan communities. The council is made up of people with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, and professionals from state and local agencies who provide supports and services to people with developmental disabilities. Among their missions is working to advance policies and programs that further inclusion, economic opportunity, and independence for individuals with IDD. The basic tenets of the council are formed around the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000.

The state of Michigan has established a robust Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for overseeing and enacting policies and programs to address the needs of individuals with IDD and their families. These policies and programs have been successful in providing access to care, promoting inclusion and autonomy, and improving the overall well-being of those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, there are still challenges in IDD care, such as limited funding and a shortage of trained professionals. It remains crucial that policymakers and stakeholders continue to work together to address these challenges and improve IDD care in Michigan.

Learn How TMP Helps IDD Providers in Michigan