Community of Practice: Supporting Families Across the Lifespan

Supporting Families Across The Lifespan

A Community of Practice

The Community of Practice (CoP) for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities involves working with states to build capacity across and within states to create policies, practices, and systems to better assist and support families that include a member with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) across the lifespan.

Originally funded as project awarded to NASDDDS by the Administration of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) in 2012 with five states and a mentor state, the early adopting states assisted in developing a framework for systems change to enhance support to all persons with I/DD, including their families and caregivers. The resulting approach, known as the Charting the LifeCourse Framework, consists of a set of guiding principles and components necessary to establish as well as scale-up innovative approaches across a system.

The CoP for Supporting Families Across the LifeSpan has expanded to twenty-one states in 2021 as a NASDDDS membership option. 

NASDDDS and the University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development (UMKC IHD) partner as the National Project team which works to connect states while impacting state and national policies to support individuals with disabilities in the context of their families. The team supports members through a variety of means tailored to each state including:   

  • Individualized technical assistance
  • Innovation workgroups
  • Webinars
  • Communication tools
  • State sharing
  • Mentoring
  • Annual meetings and conferences
  • Tools and product development

CoP participating states build capacity and make supporting families systems changes, such as:

  • Retooling the front door into systems
  • Improving cultural competency for supporting families and people with I/DD
  • Guiding and influencing policymakers
  • Helping to shape waivers/funding mechanisms
  • Shifting how professionals and families approach individual support planning
  • Enhancing family networks
  • Conducting outreach
  • Strengthening the role of families in all models of supports and services