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New Partnership with Maryland Centers for Independent Living Launches

Sowmya Nath,'s picture
December 22, 2014
MCDD to provide training and technical assistance

On November 17, 2014, the MCDD launched a new project in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities to assist community agencies in expanding their business capacity, including provision of Options Counseling, a planning service available to individuals in need of long-term support services in the community. The service is currently offered throughout Maryland at local Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) known as Maryland Access Point. To expand reach, staff at the state's seven Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are becoming certified in Options Counseling. The MCDD will work with the seven Centers for Independent Living throughout Maryland over the next 12 months to streamline operations and expand capacity to provide Options Counseling and explore and develop strategies for other service opportunities by providing technical assistance in areas such as business plan development, quality assurance, program monitoring and evaluation, partnership development, and sustainability.

Using a "person-centered" approach, Options Counseling considers an individual's needs, preferences, values, and circumstances to develop a long-term services and supports plan to achieve goals for independent living. Options Counseling is a key tool for ensuring supportive community living. Staff at the seven Centers for Independent Living, nineteen local Area Agencies on Aging, and one local health department have partnered to provide Options Counseling to individuals with disabilities and older adults living in the community and those transitioning out of nursing facilities. Maryland is a leader in this national effort to promote home and community-based independent living.

"This project strengthens our capacity to serve people of all ages, income levels, and disabilities in need of long-term services to help them access the right services at the right time in the right settings," said John Brennan, chief of staff with the Maryland Department of Disabilities. "With its track record providing trainings and technical assistance to the community, the MCDD is a valued partner." Teja Rau, chief of long term services and supports for the Maryland Department of Aging added, "As one of the eight states to receive federal grant funding from the Administration on Community Living to implement Options Counseling, this effort reinforces Maryland's commitment to the "No Wrong Door" model. Leveraging and connecting the expertise of aging and disability community partners is vital to ensuring access, quality, and choice for individuals."