Frequently Asked Questions
Partnership for Hope Waiver FAQ's (being revised)
The Division of Developmental Disabilities provides support services to eligible persons and their families who have developmental disabilities. Our Division provides a wide array of services which can be accessed through agencies throughout the state known as regional offices. The following questions and responses are provided as a public service to assist you in accessing assistance for a person with a developmental disability.
- What is the responsibility of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD)?
- If my family is in crisis, what should I do?
- Who is eligible to receive services from the Division of DD?
- Who should I contact if I believe I am eligible or a member in my family is eligible for services?
- If I suspect my child has a developmental disability, what should I do?
- If I have son or daughter with a developmental disability, at what age should I apply to the regional office for services?
- If I am an adult (over the age of 18), and I believe that I have a developmental disability and I require assistance, what should I do?
- If I'm eligible for services, is there an age requirement?
- Why can't you provide services if the disability has an adult onset?
- Does the State of Missouri operate residential centers?
- Can the regional office provide residential placement services for my child?
- How can I get my son or daughter admitted to a state-operated habilitation center?
- Now what services are offered by habilitation centers?
- Do I have to go to the town in which the regional office is located?
- In general, what does a regional office offer?
- What is the role of a service coordinator?
- How does the regional office determine what services I can receive?
- Does the regional office provide the services?
- How are services paid for?
- What types of services are provided or purchased from the Division of DD?
- Does the regional office pay for day care for my special needs child?
- Can the regional office assist families with school issues?
- Does the regional office provide legal services?
- My son or daughter is approaching graduation from high school. Can the regional office help?
- Will I get all of the services I want?
- How long will it take to get the services I need?
- What is Consumer and Family Directed Support?
- If my child has autism, what should I do?
- What is First Steps?
- Who should I call if there are problems or concerns with the services I receive?
Payment for Services
- Are there costs associated with these services? Additional information regarding costs for services
- If I have limited income, who can help me with the cost to become a legal guardian?
- Is there an unlimited amount of money available to pay for services?
- What is the most expensive service that the regional office pays for?
Rights and Advocacy
- Why am I not my child's legal guardian after they turn 18 years old?
- What should I do if I suspect that a family member may have been the victim of abuse or neglect?
- If services or supports are denied, what are my rights to appeal?
- Are advocacy and support groups available to families and persons with developmental disabilities?
- If I have a developmental disability or if my child has a developmental disability, do I have to receive services from the Department of Mental Health?
The Division of DD is one of three Divisions within the Department of Mental Health. There are several state-operated residential facilities for adults and children who have developmental disabilities. Access to services is obtained through regional offices located throughout the state. They provide eligibility determination and referral to contract agencies which specialize in services to persons with developmental disabilities. The primary responsibility of regional offices is to provide funding for services and assistance to families who have young children with developmental disabilities, as well as adult persons with developmental disabilities.
Each regional office maintains employees who respond to crisis situations. You should discuss access to crisis intervention services with your service coordinator in case the need should arise.
Eligibility is determined by what's known as a functional assessment as opposed to linking eligibility to a specific diagnosis. A developmental disability is a disability which is attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injury, autism, or a learning disability related to a brain dysfunction, or any other mental or physical or mental impairment which occurs before age 22. It must be determined that this disability is likely to continue indefinitely and that it results in a substantial functional limitation in two or more of the following six areas of major life activities: self care, receptive and expressive language development and use, learning, self-direction, capacity for independent living or economic self sufficiency and mobility.
There are 11 regional offices located throughout the state in the following cities: Central Missouri Regional Office (Columbia, Missouri), Albany, Hannibal, Joplin, Kansas City, Kirksville, Poplar Bluff, Rolla, St. Louis (North and South), Sikeston, and Springfield. Click here for contact information.
If your physician has indicated that your child may be experiencing significant developmental delays, you should contact the regional office nearest to your home and ask for assistance with determining eligibility for services.
Services provided by the regional office are voluntary and you may make application at any time during your child's life. Many families only receive service coordination assistance based upon the request and needs of the family. If, however, an unforeseen circumstance arises and services are needed, it would be important to have the eligibility determined so services can be provided in an expeditious manner.
If you have never received services from the Division of DD, you should contact the regional office in your area and request assistance with eligibility determination.
No. The Division of DD provides services to persons of any age. The only age requirement in determining eligibility is that the disability must have occurred prior to age 22 and is likely to last indefinitely.
Our Division has an eligibility rule by which all regional offices determine whether or not a person qualifies for services. One part of that rule states that the person's disability must have occurred prior to the age of 22. If either the physical or mental impairment or substantial functional limitations are not evident prior to the 22nd birthday, a person will not be considered for eligibility. Examples of non-eligible conditions might be a head injury and resultant physical and cognitive impairment which occur after a person is 22 years old. Another example of an impairment occurring after age 22 might be Parkinson's Disease in which the functional limitations are not evident until later in life.
Yes. These facilities are referred to as habilitation centers and primarily serve individuals who are severely disabled, behaviorally disordered, court committed, or medically fragile. The primary mission of the habilitation centers is to provide residential support and treatment services to people referred by the regional offices.
Regional offices try to provide intensive and preventative in-home services and supports to keep families together. Placement opportunities for children are extremely rare and provided in the most dire of circumstances.
The regional offices are the primary contact for eligibility determination and for referral to a state-operated habilitation center.
Habilitation centers are 24-hour residential care facilities that include medical, behavioral, and habilitative training. In some cases, habilitation centers have specific services for all persons who receive services from regional offices. For example, the Marshall Habilitation Center has a dentist on staff to provide for the dental health of consumers served by the Department of Mental Health. Referral for these services can be obtained through your service coordinator.
In recent years, regional offices have established satellite offices in towns throughout the region. If you contact the regional office and there is an office closer to your home, this information will be provided to you. A service coordinator will be in touch with you to assist you with the eligibility determination process.
Regional offices are designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities in meeting needs related to their disability through a variety of ways, while maintaining people in their homes and communities, if possible.
Service coordinators are responsible for assisting with advocacy and to link persons with disabilities and their families to services. The service coordinator is the primary link to the regional office and maintains frequent contact with the person receiving services. It is also the service coordinator's responsibility to review the provider's progress notes and modify the inter-disciplinary team's plan as needed based upon the circumstance of the individual receiving services.
If a child or adult is determined to be eligible for services, an inter-disciplinary team, which includes the person with the disability and his/her family, have a meeting in which the needed services are discussed. The service coordinator is knowledgeable about where services can be obtained and assists the family or individual in accessing these services.
Generally speaking, the regional office does not directly provide services. However, services are purchased from contract agencies which are licensed by the Department of Mental Health or other national accrediting agencies to ensure a high quality of service delivery.
There are a variety of funding sources to provide services to persons with developmental disabilities. These can include State of Missouri tax revenue, federal funding for specific programs, or a blend of state and federal funds. In some cases, the Department of Mental Health engages in cooperative funding with other state agencies, such as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Vocation Rehabilitation, the Division of Family Services, and the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services in the Department of Mental Health.
In general, the regional office has access to early childhood intervention services, vocational services, residential services, specific therapies (i.e., Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and counseling services), in-home supports, respite care, and crisis intervention services. Many of the services will vary by geographic location and contract providers. There are so many services available that it would be difficult to list them all. However, your service coordinator will be knowledgeable about specific services in your area.
The regional office does not pay for day care while parents are working or attending school since there are other resources available to financially assist parents (Division of Family Services). The regional office staff will refer the parent to their local Family Services Office to see if they qualify for this assistance. The service coordinator can also provide the family with a phone number to the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency in their area to find a provider who has experience working with children who have developmental disabilities. Regional offices do provide respite care, which is temporary relief for families who care for a child in their home.
Regional offices have staff who are knowledgeable about IDEA and who are trained to be advocates for families in individual education programs (IEP's). They can assist families in understanding their rights and responsibilities in relation to their child's educational needs.
Generally speaking, the regional offices are not equipped to offer legal advice or services. However, if an eligible recipient of services requires a legal guardian, your service coordinator can assist in that effort.
For most families, this is the time when regional offices become most involved in coordinating services. Depending on the circumstance and wishes of the person with a developmental disability, regional offices can coordinate vocational training and job placement services, referral to sheltered employment, or other supported activities based upon the needs of the individual.
The extent of services are determined based upon the needs of the person with a developmental disability. The solution may not always be purchasing a specific service that the family is requesting, but it must address the need directly in a way the family feels will work. In some cases, services can be obtained from other agencies and, therefore, do not require funding from the regional center. It is important to remember that the services are based on the needs of the individual.
There are a number of factors involved in the application, eligibility, and service determination process. Typically, a regional office is required to make a determination of eligibility within 45 days of the time an application is received and then additional time for planning and obtaining the services that are needed. If additional assessment is needed, then that time may be extended. If clear information confirming a developmental disability is readily available, it will take a much shorter time. In crisis situations when all the required elements are readily available, the determination and initial service plan may be made within a day or two.
In recent years, the Division of DD has received new funds specifically to assist families who have children with developmental disabilities to direct and manage their own service needs. Your service coordinator can provide more detailed information, however, these services can include respite care, adaptive equipment, specific professional therapies, as well as the selection of specific staff whom you choose to work with your son or daughter.
Throughout the State of Missouri, treatment services are available to children with a diagnosis of autism. The funding for these services are distributed through the Department of Mental Health. To access these services, a child must be determined eligible for regional office services and your service coordinator can assist in obtaining autism treatment services.
First Steps is Missouri's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. First Steps is designed for children, birth to age three, who have delayed development or diagnosed conditions that are associated with developmental disabilities. First Steps is a collaborative effort of four state agencies-the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Health, Mental Health, and Social Services. First Steps is supported by federal and state funds from the four agencies and by other local and private agencies throughout Missouri.
Your best contact is the service coordinator whose responsibility it is to work with you to resolve these concerns.
Some services are exempt from charges to the consumer, while others are based on the ability to pay as per a Standard Means Test. Your service coordinator cooperation with accounting staff at the regional office can provide you with specific information related to your situation.
Some legal aid agencies will assist if the person wanting to become a legal guardian has limited financial resources. Also, the disabled person's SSI benefits or other income can be saved up to pay for guardianship expenses. The service coordinator can assist the family or interested party in locating attorneys in their community who charge reduced rates in the guardianship process.
Each regional office receives an annual appropriation of resources that can be spent throughout a 12 month period of time. These resources are limited and, due to increasing demand for regional office services, not all services can be immediately provided. However, there are opportunities to share resources and collaborate among the state departments other than the Department of Mental Health to help families to receive the services that they need. Your service coordinator will be knowledgeable about these funding options.
The most expensive services the regional office contracts for are what's known as residential services. These services can range from small amounts of support for a person with a disability up to and including 24-hour supports. Residential services are provided in the community by agencies who contract with the Department of Mental Health. There are different types of residential support and all are designed to meet the specific support needs of the person with a developmental disability. Each of these homes are licensed or certified by the Department of Mental Health or, in some cases, by a nationally recognized accreditation service.
Many parents assume that their parental rights continue as long as they are the primary caregivers for their child, even when they turn 18 and enter their own adult years. In order to be considered a legal guardian or conservator of an estate for an adult child, the family would have to have received legal assistance to petition in their local Probate Court. A Probate Judge needs to rule that a person is incapacitated and/or disabled in order to appoint a parent (or other appropriate person) as the legal guardian.
You should immediately notify your service coordinator of your concerns. There are specific statutory requirements under which the regional office operates and responds to allegations of abuse and/or neglect. Each regional office has trained investigators who respond immediately to these circumstances.
If you disagree with a decision, you may notify regional office intake or service coordination staff that you want your case heard by the regional office director. You will receive a written notification that the regional office has received your request to appeal and you may present any information that relates to the appeal in a meeting with the regional office director or representative in order to resolve your differences. All of your appeal rights will be explained in detail and you will receive a pamphlet which outlines the various levels of appeal.
There are numerous advocacy groups and support groups throughout the State of Missouri. Since the availability of these groups may vary from one region to another, it is best to check with your service coordinator and/or regional office to receive information about groups that would best meet your needs. One of the fastest growing self-advocate groups is known as People First. There are state and local chapters of this organization throughout Missouri.
No. The services offered by the DD Division are strictly voluntary. However, if you wish to obtain services, you must request eligibility determination from your local regional office.