The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is working to make it easier for individuals and families to apply for adult services. We are writing with some updates on this work.
We are updating our eligibility and application materials to simplify and more clearly explain our eligibility criteria, application requirements, and next steps after applying. We hope to combine multiple documents, expand the application instructions and change the formatting to make the application easier to follow and read. We will be posting updated materials the week of December 5, 2016.
During December 2016 and January 2017, we will accept the old version or the new version of the application to allow for some transition time and additional feedback from the community. Beginning February 1, 2017, we will only accept the new version of the application.
If you have any recommendations on how to improve the updated application materials, please submit your ideas to
In addition, DDD is launching a new “Eligibility by 17” policy to provide timely eligibility decisions to students leaving school. The policy puts a process in place for students to apply for services at age 16 and receive an eligibility decision by age 17. Our goal is to identify students with disabilities as eligible for adult services before they leave school.
We will work with school districts to inform families that they have a right to file an application for adult services at age 16 for youth who fall into certain categories, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). This includes students who have an intellectual disability, autism, or multiple disabilities, or who are believed to have a developmental disability and be eligible for adult services. It is the family’s decision whether to submit an application for services at this age. For more information, please refer to our website.
Lastly, we are excited to announce that in January 2017, DDD will have a dedicated staff member to help coordinate the transition process for students leaving secondary schools. This Statewide Transition Coordinator will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and all Local Education Authorities (LEAs) to oversee the new “Eligibility by 17” process. The Coordinator will also identify ways to better identify and serve all youth transitioning to adult services. Responsibilities will include:
We look forward to these changes, which will help us better serve Rhode Islanders living with developmental disabilities and their families. We’ll continue to keep you in the loop as our work moves forward.
- Serve as point of contact for all IEP meeting requests.
- Attend IEPs upon request.
- Educate teachers and special education staff about services for adults with developmental disabilities.
- Coordinate with the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) to ensure education materials are helpful for youth transitioning from school to the adult system.
- Make continuous process improvement recommendations to the Interagency Consent Decree Implementation Team.
Heather Mincey, Administrator