2017 Directors Forum & Mid-Year Conference

2017 Directors Forum & Mid-Year Conference


Building Community Capacity to Support People with Challenging Behaviors

June 7 – 9, 2017
Hilton Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Creating a service delivery model that supports all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be fully engaged in their community means building the capacity to provide best practices in positive behavior supports. Responding effectively to behavior that decreases opportunities for individuals to be in the community continues to challenge state systems. Research has found that intervening early and planning, are critical to building a comprehensive community support model. Developing organizational capacity also requires collaboration across I/DD and mental health systems. Many states have increased their efforts in learning to provide positive behavior support practices and make system-wide changes that promote quality lives and safe environments, and collaboration with other service systems.

The mid-year conference will focus on supports and services for people with co-occurring intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health support needs, with practical solutions and examples of community living, treatment, and support.

The conference will provide opportunities to:

  • Hear from state leaders engaged in systematic capacity building at the state and local levels through cross systems collaboration and innovations.
  • Learn from state leaders, providers, clinicians, and positive behavior support professionals, about serving people involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Gain insight into the frequency, types, and impacts of abuse and neglect on people with I/DD, along with implications for community services.
  • Hear the latest research and best practice in understanding and responding to challenging behavior.
  • Hear about practical solutions from states on comprehensive systems initiatives including policies, practices, training, crisis intervention, prevention, and capacity building.


Karyn Harvey

Karyn Harvey
Assistant Executive Director
The Arc Baltimore
Baltimore, Maryland

David PitonyakDavid Pitonyak
Blacksburg, Virginia

Leigh Ann DavisLeigh Ann Davis
Director, Criminal Justice Initiatives
The Arc 
Washington, D.C.

Jeff Cross

Jeff Cross
President, Public Solutions
Benchmark Human Services


Julie Petty

Julie Petty
Partners for Inclusive Communities
University of Arkansas

Jon Alexander

Jon Alexander
Chief Executive Officer
Kaposia, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota

Roberta SickRoberta Sick
Partners for Inclusive Communities
University of Arkansas

Randall LossRandall Loss
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation


Italy by Jimmy Reagan

Mid-Year Conference 

Directors Forum
Wednesday, June 7
(8:30 AM - 4:30 PM)

Mid-Year Conference
Thursday, June 8
(8:30 AM - 5:00 PM)

Mid-Year Conference
Friday, June 9
(8:30 AM - 12:15 PM)


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Trauma Informed Care for Individuals with I/DD

Karyn Harvey
Assistant Executive Director, The Arc Baltimore
Karyn Harvey.pdf

Ms. Harvey covered sources of trauma for individuals with I/DD, the effects of trauma, and the key ingredients for healing. She also explored critical elements needed in training direct support professionals in order to create trauma informed cultures.

Learning to Support People to Heal

Julie Petty and Roberta Sick
Partners for Inclusive Communities, University of Arkansas
Petty & Sick.pdf

Ms. Petty and Ms. Sick discussed how to support people when words do not seem to work and people then start using behaviors as communication. They shared how to educate people with I/DD about healthy relationships and support them to feel safe to talk about their experiences of abuse or violence. Also included was information on educating direct support professionals about trauma, social norms, and the effects of victimization.

Building Capacity through State and Provider Collaboration to Support People with Challenging Behaviors

Bernie Simons
Deputy Secretary, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration
NASDDDS Board President
Bernie Simons.pdf

Jeff Cross
President of Public Solutions
Benchmark Human Services
Jeff Cross.pdf

Mr. Simons and Mr. Cross provided an overview of current practices and promising new strategies to build provider and system capacity to support people with challenging behaviors to live sustained lives in the community. They addressed building provider competency and effectiveness, high impact interventions, crisis support, behavioral health integration, leveraging funding options, and the role of collaboration between state agencies and private providers.

States Experiences in Implementing a Comprehensive Positive Behavior Support Model

Rachel Freeman
Director of State Initiatives
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
Rachel Freeman.pdf

Jason A. Flint, MSW
Minnesota Disability Services Division
Jason Flint.pdf

Cheryl Frazine
New Mexico Bureau of Behavioral Support
Cheryl Frazine.pdf

Janet George, Ed.D.
Assistant Commissioner
Policy, Planning and Children's Services
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
Janet George.pdf

This presentation, facilitated by Dr. Rachel Freeman from the University of Minnesota, included discussions about three levels of implementation: (1) Changing the culture of a full service system to move from a deficit and consequence model to a strength based positive supports model; (2) Providing a state infrastructure view that includes a detailed examination of regulatory changes and the key role leadership plays in promoting change; and (3) Discussion of services at the individual level designed around a sophisticated model of technical assistance carried out by behavior consultants, including a behavioral effectiveness review that determines satisfaction across the person's full life and includes collection of data. 

The Importance of Data to Describe the Experience of Direct Support Professionals

Dorothy Hiersteiner
Project Coordinator
National Core Indicators (NCI)
Dorothy Hiersteiner.pdf

Esmé Grant Grewal, Esq.
Senior Director of Government Relations
American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
Esme Grant Grewal.pdf

The National Core Indicators (NCI) Staff Stability Survey has a goal to help states benchmark and compare their data on workforce experience to those of other states in order to make improvements through policy or programmatic changes. The 2015 Staff Stability results from 17 participating states, and the insights they offer into the current experience of our direct support workforce, can provide key information as home and community-based service systems grapple with potential models to address what is being called a crisis in several states.

These presenters discussed the need for data collection on the direct support professional workforce and examined the 2015 NCI Staff Stability Survey results and give guidance on how states can read and interpret the data. This discussion also presented one state's use of the Staff Stability Survey data as they consider an hourly wage increase. Additionally, the panel covered how the data can be used by provider agencies to move the discussion from anecdotal to data based evidence and at the federal level to assist a national movement. Data about the national survey results related to tenure, turnover benefits and wages could be used among state and provider agencies to collaborate on the changes possible within each unique system. 

Behavioral Challenges and Employment, How Do They Mix?

Valerie Bradley
Human Services Research Institute (HSRI)
Valerie Bradley.pdf

Randy Loss
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Randy Loss.pdf

John Alexander
Chief Executive Officer
Kaposia, Inc.
John Alexander.pdf

Valerie Bradley, HSRI, spoke about using NCI national data on individual outcomes for employment. The presentation then included a description of the methods used in working with people with intellectual disabilities who have behavioral challenges that can work to help reduce those challenges. Randy Loss described a motivational interviewing (MI) technique that assists the person to change their decision making process. He also covered the use of peers to support the person to share life experiences and how customized employment can complement these methods to help an individual acquire meaningful community integrated employment. Jon Alexander will then share some success stories on how Kaposia, Inc. supports people to realize that employment is possible for anyone who wants it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Using Disability Response Teams to Create Better Outcomes for People with I/DD in the Criminal Justice System

Leign Ann Davis
Director, Criminal Justice Initiatives
The Arc
Leigh Ann Davis.pdf

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, as both suspects and victims of crime. Too often systems that attempt to support this population take a crisis intervention, rather than a crisis prevention, approach. This approach prevents early intervention and planning within communities, and adds to an already overcrowded criminal justice system. This session explored promising practices taking place throughout the country to address this issue, including forming community-based disability response teams to begin creating practical and realistic solutions. The struggle is real, but the future for people with I/DD in the criminal justice is slowly getting brighter.

Support for People with Co-Occurring I/DD and Mental Illness:
The Intersection of Positive Behavior Support, Treatment, and Mental Wellness

Dan Baker, Ph.D.
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Internal Reviewer and Positive Support Lead
Jensen/Olmstead Quality Assurance and Compliance Office
Dan Baker.pdf

Direct support professionals working with persons that have co-occurring I/DD and mental illness often struggle to bring together the different ways of understanding the reasons behind a person's behavior. This presentation described how positive behavior support, mental health treatment, and mental wellness can be used to support people who have co-occurring conditions. To most effectively provide support, these three approaches must be brought together to provide a more unified and comprehensive approach, but support systems often are arrayed in a manner which impedes this. Strategies that cover these considerations, can assist care providers in understanding the true nature of complex patterns of behavior, and guide proper selection of interventions.