Participant-Directed Services Project Summary

On July 1, 2013, the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in collaboration with:

began work on the Developmental Disabilities Council funded Participant-Directed Services Project. The four year project included a demonstration project, research and advocacy.

Aligning with principles of self-determination, Participant-Directed Services provide a model whereby people with disabilities have more control over where, when, how, and by whom their supports are provided. This document for people with disabilities and their families describes the purpose of participant-directed supports, the role of supports brokers, and the two financial management services that are used in Pennsylvania's participant directed option.
Participant-Directed Services Info Sheet (Download PDF)


Demonstration Project: Supports Brokering

We will conduct a cross-disability demonstration in which 40-50 people in southeastern and northeastern PA will have the opportunity to direct their own services with the assistance of a Support Broker/Recovery Coach. Project participants will select a Supports Broker/Recovery Coach to assist them with planning, budgeting and arranging formal and informal services and supports. The project will support the development of a "Supports Brokerage" and network for Supports Brokers/Recovery Coaches.

For more information on the Supports Brokerage, visit the Values Into Action-PA website.


Grant Objectives (2013-2017)

  1. Build capacity for Supports Brokering/Recovery Coaching in PA.
  2. Demonstrate participant-driven service models are cost-effective and produce both greater quality of life outcomes and satisfaction with services.
  3. Build evidence-base for cost effectiveness and improved outcomes of person-driven services.
  4. Build support among PA disability service systems, policy makers and legislators for the personal and financial benefits of people with disabilities having control over their own services and supports, in particular, Cash and Counseling models.
  5. Design and execute communications strategies to build timely public support and maintain strategic alliances with a broad range of stakeholders for person-driven services.
  6. Assess and adjust project activities to effectively promote systems change.


Supports Broker Policy Manual

(For current resources, visit the Person Directed Services and Supports page.)

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and Values into Action-PA have published a Supports Broker Policy Manual to help build capacity for agencies and individuals interested in providing Supports Broker services in Pennsylvania. This was undertaken as part of the Participant-Directed Services Project, funded by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council to raise awareness of and to promote and expand self-directed services across the Commonwealth. This is about enabling greater authority and control for people with disabilities to lead their own services and ultimately, their lives.

The manual is designed for providers who want to offer Supports Broker services and partner with individuals with disabilities and their families to ensure this option is available to anyone interested.

Among the topics covered are the roles and responsibilities for supports brokers as well as qualification and evaluation standards.

Providers can use the manual to develop supports broker services.

Contact us to access the Support Broker Policy Manual (PDF file exceeds website size limitations).

This project is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.


Participant-Directed Services Project Summary

In December 2018, The Institute on Disabilities, Pennsylvania's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (IOD) in collaboration with Values into Action (Values), Self-Advocates United as One (SAU1) and the Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) was awarded a new Developmental Disabilities Council funded grant to continue work on Participant-Directed Services (PDS). This new project aims "to support statewide education, advocacy, improvement and expansion of Participant-Directed Services in PA."

We will take the learnings of the project we completed in December, 2017, apply them to the current project and with new activities, initiatives and partners, expand the work of the previous project so that Participant-Directed Services will become a household word for those using services and supports in PA. Individuals with disabilities, families and other stakeholders will not only choose PDS as their preferred means of service delivery, but will understand the intricacies of self-direction and will be provided with multiple opportunities to tell their stories of the successes and challenges of PDS.


Sustainable Self-Directed Care in Pennsylvania's Behavioral Health System

2019 Grant Objectives

  1. Continue PDS systemic improvements statewide and connect with other initiatives and projects in Pennsylvania.
  2. Identify strategies for engaging generic businesses in the work of PDS.
  3. Provide various ways for people with disabilities and families, and others in the community to learn from each other about the benefits and challenges of PDS.
  4. Provide multiple opportunities for people to tell their own PDS stories.
  5. Ensure that the work of the PDS project is sustainable beyond the life of the grant.



This project was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council; in part by grant number 2001PASCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201.

For more information about PDS

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