The Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports was established in response to a need for an organizational home for people who are using self-directed supports, people who want to be in charge of their own lives, and others that support citizen directed supports.
We work collaboratively to build a vibrant organization that includes and supports the interests of the many people, families, groups and organizations that promote and enable self-direction in the United States and around the world. Together, we are expanding and supporting the efforts of those seeking to make a better way for themselves and others.
People with disabilities, like all citizens, want to be in charge of their own lives, to choose and be in charge of their own support, to have fulfilling connections with friends and family, to have romantic relationships, marry and/or have families, to live on their own or with people they choose, and to have jobs and careers that bring in enough money to do the things and have the things that are important to them. There has been a dramatic shift in the manner in which people who use public services are expecting to be supported.
It is critical to be responsive to the personal and collective voices of people with disabilities and those who care about them. The shift to person-directed support is in keeping with U.S. national policy through The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Home and Community Based Services regulations, as well as internationally through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Concurrent with the movement toward more responsive and inclusive supports, we face threats to the progress that is being made. There is an international effort to establish segregated, campus-based villages, farms and gated communities for people with disabilities. Congregate models of service (group homes, institutions, center-based day programs, sheltered workshops, villages/intentional communities and other service approaches that isolate and segregate people with disabilities) must be replaced with flexible, inclusive, individualized supports. This is critical, not only to be responsive to the needs and choices of people with disabilities, but as a matter of social justice. There is perhaps no greater human impulse than to be in charge of one’s own life and destiny. The ability to choose lives that respond to people’s own interests and choices upholds people’s civil rights and their right to full citizenship.
The establishment of The Alliance is in response to the critical need to offer better lives and supports for people with disabilities. We begin our efforts by inviting all disability stakeholders a platform to communicate regarding ideas, innovations, best practices, obstacles and opportunities. We invite members to share questions and solutions, learn from one another and in this way, bring to scale the pockets of excellence in responsive, individualized, person-directed supports that have begun to thrive over the last number of years.