State EvaluationsWhy This Is Important
Twenty years or more ago most people with developmental disabilities who received publicly financed services lived in large institutions. As the costs and outcomes institution life became better understood, there was a significant effort to move people to the community. In the earlier years of this movement community services were generally presumed to be cost-effective because the referent was the largely ineffective and quite costly institutional model. Today most people who receive home and community services have never lived in an institution. The quality of life in the institution has become less relevant in considering the benefits of community life, just as the costs of institutional care has become a less significant component of total expenditures for services for persons with developmental disabilities. Now that community services and community service expenditures predominate in services for persons with developmental disabilities, there is a heightened expectation that they must be held accountable to a standard other than being more effective and less costly that institutions. It is increasingly expected that programs be organized and administered in ways that provide for access, promote quality of life and protect the health, safety and well-being of persons with disabilities. It is increasingly expected that the efforts of states to achieve such outcomes will be guided and evaluated through systemic information gathering and analysis. The State Evaluation Department identifies and provides links to products of such efforts. These products include evaluations done of and/or by state agencies on services for persons with developmental disabilities. They include assessments and case studies of entire state community service systems as well as of specific programs within those systems. In addition there are reports of multi-state evaluations of specific approaches to service delivery and also reports that summarizes findings of case studies conducted in multiple states. Together these reports describe the range of approaches to and outcomes of community service organization delivery. They provide a summary of the growing body of evaluation data on community services and provide examples of the different approaches being taken to evaluate community services.