Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) policy, at both the federal and state levels, is a critical component of safeguarding and improving the necessary services and support that intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals need in order to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
In Missouri, significant progress has been made in implementing such policies. Read on to learn about four key IDD policies and programs in Missouri and the positive impact these initiatives are having within the IDD community.
One of the most vital programs in Missouri is the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver program. This program, which is administered by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), provides funding for specific care services and support to be given to intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals within their homes and communities, avoiding the need for them to be housed in an institutional setting.
The waivers afford a wide range of services, including personal care, transportation, and respite care. Having in-home access to these otherwise-costly services means that persons with IDD have the resources to live more independent and less-sequestered lives.
In addition to providing financial assistance for critical care services, the Missouri Department of Mental Health has established a standardized procedure to promote quality of life for the intellectually and developmentally disabled individual. The Missouri Quality Outcomes (MOQO)—six separate guidelines meant to define quality of life for those being cared for—are based on a set of goals that the IDD person and their families or guardians determine.
Using data that is collected annually, the Division of Developmental Disabilities addresses any corrections to the individual’s services and supports that are needed in order to meet these goals. The MOQO initiative has proven effective in raising the caliber of support through continuous enhancements to the care that the IDD population receives.
Missouri’s Employment First policy, which is designed to help individuals with IDD find and maintain appropriate employment, is another example of the state’s commitment to furthering the independence of intellectually or developmentally disabled persons.
The Missouri Employment First initiative provides job training, job coaching, and other support services to help these individuals obtain suitable employment opportunities that align with their skills, abilities, goals, and personal circumstances. The policy empowers individuals with IDD to contribute to their communities and earn an income, which in turn fosters within them a sense of belonging and purpose.
Missouri also has a strong advocacy network for individuals with IDD. The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC) is a federally funded organization that advocates for people with IDD and their families. The MODDC works to promote policies and drive legislation that improves the lives of people with IDD, as well as providing support and resources to individuals and their caregivers.
The MODDC is an essential resource for people with IDD in Missouri and, through its lobbying efforts, has played a significant role in advancing and reforming IDD policy in the state.
IDD policy in Missouri is critical to ensure that individuals with IDD consistently receive the services and support they need to live life to their fullest potential, integrated into their communities as contributing members of society, as independently and productively as possible.
Policies and programs such as the Medicaid HCBS waiver program, the Missouri Quality Outcomes initiative, the Employment First program, and the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council have all been instrumental in improving the lives of people with IDD in Missouri. However, there is always more work to be done—the state must continue to prioritize IDD policy in order to uphold and protect the rights of the IDD community, empowering intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals to lead their best lives.