Institute on Disabilities at Temple University


Person Directed Services and Supports (PDSS)

Upcoming and Current Training

December 6, PDS Community Forum

Time: 10 AM - 1 PM

Location: Mental Health Partnerships, 7200 Chestnut Street, Upper Darby, PA 19082

PDS are home and community-based services that can help people of all ages, and all disabilities maintain independence and choose the supports they need to live their best life.

  • Do you want to learn more?
  • Do you already direct your own services and want to share your experience?
  • Are you new to self-direction, or thinking about trying it and have lots of questions?

If you answered "yes" to any of these, this FREE community event is for you!

Accommodations: Any request for reasonable accommodations should be made by November 18, 2019.

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Jamie at

Project funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

Co-sponsors: Values Into Action and Self Advocates United as 1.

2019 Supports Broker Classroom Certification

Registration is open for our December 2019 supports broker certification class. Please visit the myodp website to complete the online modules and register.

Dates: December 12 and 13, 2019 (Thursday - Friday)
Time: 10 AM - 4 PM both days

Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (CIL)
713 North 13th St.
First Floor, Odhner Conference Room A and B
Allentown, PA 18102

2020 Supports Broker Classroom Certification

Registration for the March 2020 class will open in January.

Dates: March 5 and 6, 2020 (Thursday - Friday)

Disability Empowerment Center (DEC)
CIL - Conference Room
941 Wheatland Ave. #201
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone (717) 394-1890

Supports Broker Certification - Registration Open

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Services Waiver (P/FDS) Renewals require that, in order to provide Supports Broker services, Supports Brokers must successfully complete a Supports Broker Certification Program provided by ODP or its Designee to provide Supports Broker services. Staff hired on or after July 1, 2017 must successfully complete the Supports Broker Certification Program prior to enrollment as a Supports Broker. Staff hired prior to the effective date of this waiver must complete this program by 1/1/19.

The Office of Developmental Programs has contracted with Temple University's Institute on Disabilities to provide this certification training. This two-part training provides prospective supports brokers with information they need to understand Participant Directed Services and Supports (PDSS) and the role the broker plays in helping people be successful with self-directing their services. Guided by principles of self-determination, training participants will gain knowledge and skills necessary to enhance natural supports, support participants with employer related responsibilities, and assist people with program rules and person-centered planning.

This new certification program consists of 2 required parts:

  1. Seven (7) Online Training Modules completed via These will serve as foundational training and will be a pre-requisite to the classroom portion.
  2. Two (2) Day Classroom Training that builds off the online training providing the participants with opportunities to expand their knowledge, practice their skills, and engage in activities and discussion related to the role of the supports broker.

Target Audience: People interested in pursuing a career as a Supports Broker.

Topics Include:

  • Principles of Self-Determination & Participant-Directed Supports
  • The Role of the Supports Broker & Collaborative Partnerships
  • Developing Community Connections, Relationships, and Natural Supports
  • Person-Centered Thinking and Planning
  • Person-Directed Supports and Services
  • Employer Responsibilities and Basic Employment Law

Register for Supports Broker Certification

Register Online* (for guidance, download Word file - Step-by-step instructions for registration and taking the online courses)

Questions? Please email

* Information and instructions for the online portion will be distributed to those that register. The online trainings may be taken at your convenience but must be taken no later than the week prior to the training. The online trainings will take approximately 6-8 hours in total to complete. Registration will save your spot in the training, but you will not be confirmed or admitted into the training until you successfully complete the online portion.

What is New for 2019?

  1. We continue to strive to make "person directed services and supports" a common household phrase;
  2. Over the next two years, we hope to provide ways for people with disabilities, families and the generic community to learn from one and other through community conversations;
  3. We continue to expand resources for individuals who want to learn more about person directed services and supports. One way we continue this work will be the development of PDSS "Regional Expert Councils," and;
  4. We will provide ways for individuals using PDSS to share their stories of both success and challenges.

Person Directed Services and Supports Project Summary

woman with disability at work with assistant who arranges her lunchIn 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 Person Directed Services and Supports (PDSS). This new project aims "to support statewide education, advocacy, improvement and expansion of Person 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 and Supports will become a household word for those using services and supports in PA. Individuals with disabilities, families and other stakeholders will not only choose PDSS 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 PDSS.

Participant Directed Services Info Sheet (PDF)


The Institute on Disabilities will take a two-fold approach to building an evidence-base for the expansion of person-driven services in PA. First, the Institute will conduct a review of studies of Cash and Counseling models and brokering practices. Second, the demonstration project will be evaluated, looking at quality of life, met/unmet needs, satisfaction and cost effectiveness. This research will inform the demonstration project and be used in systems advocacy efforts as we work toward person-driven services.


Sustainable Self-Directed Care in Pennsylvania's Behavioral Health System
Sustainable Self-Directed Care, accessible text version
Sustainable Self-Directed Care, PDF version


We will engage in advocacy efforts at multiple levels. The primary policy targeted in these efforts will be the expansion of Cash and Counseling models which offer the greatest amount of authority and control. The project will work on the grassroots level, local community, administrative and legislative levels. We will also be working toward raising awareness and support for person-driven services.

Interested in joining a Regional Resource Council?

2019 Grant Objectives

two young men hug at a college graduation ceremony

  1. Continue PDSS systemic improvements statewide and connect with other initiatives and projects in Pennsylvania.
  2. Identify strategies for engaging generic businesses in the work of PDSS.
  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 PDSS.
  4. Provide multiple opportunities for people to tell their own PDSS stories.
  5. Ensure that the work of the PDSS project is sustainable beyond the life of the grant.

New PDSS Resources

Through a grant funded by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council from 2013 - 2017, Temple University Institute on Disabilities and Values Into Action have collaborated to publish three new resources to support the provision of person directed services through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs:

A Supports Brokerage Start-Up Guide

Download Supports Brokerage Start-Up Guide (PDF)
Download Supports Brokerage Start-Up Guide (Word)

This guide instructs interested organizations on how to start up and qualify to become a Supports Brokerage (that is, a service provider that offers the supports broker service) in Pennsylvania. It provides steps, suggestions and examples to be used to develop and qualify as a Supports Brokerage, and steps to sustain a successful and well-trained staff of Supports Brokers.

Trainer Guide: Supports Brokering in Pennsylvania

Download Supports Brokering Training Guide (PDF)
Download Supports Brokering Training Guide (Word)

This Trainer Guide represents the culmination of four years of learning, teaching, and reflecting on best practices in supporting people to lead their own services and supports through the Pennsylvania Participant Directed Services system. This Trainer Guide can be used by organizations as they orient and mentor Supports Brokers, either pre- or post-certification by the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP).

Supports Brokering in Pennsylvania, Lessons 1 - 14

Download Supports Brokering in PA (PDF)
Download Supports Brokering in PA (PowerPoint)

These power point slides accompany the Trainer Guide: Supports Brokering in Pennsylvania. The two resources are to be used together to provide education on Pennsylvania's Participant Directed Services system, and to initiate or refresh training of Supports Brokers.

Please email with questions and/or to obtain hard copies of these documents.


For more information contact

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

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Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service