New Article:  National Core Indicators Provides Insight to I/DD System Performance

For the past 20 years, National Core Indicators (NCI) has provided state I/DD systems with a way to learn about the experience and outcomes of people supported through their vast networks of provider agencies and services.   National Core Indicators (NCI) is a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI).  The purpose of the program, which began in 1997, is to support NASDDDS member agencies to gather a standard set of performance and outcome measures that can be used to track their own performance over time, to compare results across states, and to establish national benchmarks. National and state reports of the NCI data provide valuable state-level feedback on system performance, allowing states to view aggregate responses to the individual indicators across the whole population surveyed.  States may also request or complete their own supplemental analyses to examine particular areas of policy interest; sorting the results through the lens of employment status or the satisfaction results based on where people live are two common analyses available to states.

Examining the experience of population sub-groups who have certain characteristics across states allows for systems to learn and better understand their needs and experiences. People who need extensive behavior supports, for example, are a costly and complex group of people to support. As states wrestle with discussions about the contributors to costs and balanced with the most effective service delivery, NCI can provide crucial data to inform the conversations through the experience of people who receive those supports. Traditionally, people who need some or extensive support for behavioral challenges have also demonstrated high costs for services.   State agency management staff likely hear many stories about individuals who have high support needs, or who may have a reputation based on a long history of incidents.  Reliable, aggregate data can provide verification that the individual stories warrant decisions.  The same data can also contribute to the decision making process. 

Medication Use for those with MH Diagnosis or Need Behavior Support. 

There are several data points in NCI that could help in these discussions, including those who need some or extensive support for aggressive or self-injurious behaviors.  

Currently takes at least one medication for…..

State Range

Of those who take meds for this reason, % respondents reported to be taking 3 or more medications for….

Mood, anxiety and or psychotic disorders




Behavior challenges




Of those who are reported to take at least one medication for behavior challenges, 38% are not reported to have a behavior plan.