Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

The Wolf Administration has launched the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, which connects older Pennsylvanians and individuals with a disability or behavioral health need to services and supports available in their community.

The website provides users with a wide variety of resources, including a home care directory and an information referral tool. It is a collaboration of the departments of Aging (PDA) and Human Services (DHS), and is an extension of PDA’s Aging and Disability Resource call center. By providing assistance online, the initiative further enhances the Commonwealth’s efforts to help Pennsylvanians locate and best utilize services at the local level.

The site features 12 service and support categories: Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation.

Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories. A major component to the site is the home care directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their counties. In-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services.

If you are an in-home service provider licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and would like to appear on the home care directory, you may submit your information by navigating to the footer of the site and selecting “Apply.”

In addition to the home care directory, another major feature of the website is the information referral tool. This tool guides users through a series of questions and then provides a list of resources based on their specific needs.

Moving forward, the departments of Aging and Human Services will continue to enhance the website using data and feedback from users, and expand the resources and information provided through the site. This includes working with your organization and other stakeholders to increase the number of options appearing within each category. Read the press release here.

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) has announced that individuals who are interested in OVR services can complete a pre-application online through JobGateway. This is considered to be a streamlined approach that should expedite the process of connecting with OVR services. To request services, a person can simply complete and submit the online pre-application using these instructions. Anyone having difficulty completing their pre-application can contact their closest OVR district office for assistance.

It is important to note that completing a pre-application online is not required; rather, it is being made available to streamline the process.

Anyone can refer themselves or someone else to OVR. If not using the online process, then simply call OVR’s toll free number (1-800-442-6351 voice/1-866-830-7327 TTY) or a district office. OVR exists to assist people with disabilities in securing or maintaining employment and independence. Generally, people are eligible for OVR services if they have a “physical or mental impairment that results in a significant impediment to employment.” Additional information about OVR, who can be served, and the services available through OVR can be found here.

In Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Announcement 119-17, ODP reminds certain parties involved in serving individuals in the Consolidated Waiver about training requirements established by the Harry M Settlement. The announcement also provides updated information about how to access the required trainings.

Trainings at

ODP Deaf Services Overview (for Supports Coordinators) – Credit Hours 2
Two-part required training for all Supports Coordinators in the event that they currently serve or will serve someone who is deaf. Information on what all SCs need to know and specific activities for SCs currently serving individuals who are deaf.

ODP Deaf Services (for Provider Administrators and Agencies) – Credit Hours 2
All Provider Agencies/Administrators that are currently serving individuals with an intellectual disability who are deaf are required to view this training. Overview of Harry M. Settlement, Deaf Culture, unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities who are deaf, expectation of providers, communication, documentation, and the Deaf Services Coordinator.

ODP Deaf Services (for Provider Staff) – Credit Hours 2
Required training for All Provider Staff currently serving individuals with an intellectual disability who are deaf. Overview of Harry M. Settlement, Deaf Culture, unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities who are deaf, expectation of providers, and the Deaf Services Coordinator.

ODP Deaf Services (for Investigators, Licensing Inspectors, and Monitors) – Credit Hours 2
Required training for all investigators, licensing inspectors, and monitors. Overview of Harry M. Settlement, Deaf Culture, unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities who are deaf, and communication.

This announcement also obsoletes Announcements 021-14, 033-14, and 048-14 that previously linked to the Deaf Services Trainings. If you have questions after reading the announcement, please email ODP.

On October 18, 2017, House Resolution 544, introduced by State Representative Tom Murt (R–Philadelphia/Montgomery County), passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 191–0. The resolution stated that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives recognizes the month of October 2017 as “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

Official Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Portrait

RCPA is proud to announce that one of its own will be heading to Pittsburgh to lead one of Pennsylvania’s most respected human service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. COO and IDD Division Director Steve Suroviec will be serving as CEO of ACHIEVA, Inc. starting in January 2018. Suroviec has been with RCPA since August 2016 after serving in multiple leadership positions in state government. RCPA President and CEO Richard Edley said, “We are very sad to see Steve leave RCPA – with the extensive knowledge and expertise he brought from the Offices of Developmental Programs and Vocational Rehabilitation, Steve shepherded our members through many months of reforms proposed by state funding agencies, including major changes to Medicaid waivers, funding regulations, and rates. But it’s a feather in RCPA’s cap that Steve has been asked to lead a strong and prestigious service provider such as ACHIEVA. This is a tremendous opportunity for him; we wish Steve all the best as he enters the next chapter of his career in service to people with disabilities.” Suroviec will continue at RCPA through the end of November to assist in the operations and in a transition. Read ACHIEVA’s press release and see the announcement in the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The Office of Developmental Programs and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has circulated information on the next two offerings in the Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series. There is no registration fee but pre-registration is required.

  1. Title: Drumming & Autism

Description: A four-hour workshop designed to show people how to facilitate rhythmic interventions with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This training is beginner friendly and requires no musical ability to be successful. These clinically proven techniques were developed at Saint Francis University and are designed to meet goals such as:

  • Increased attention to task;
  • Non-verbal expression;
  • Socialization; and
  • Stress reduction for individuals on the autism spectrum and other disabilities.

Audience: People providing clinical or other direct support to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Date: Monday, November 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Torrance State Hospital (Torrance, PA)
Register here
Additional Information can be found here.

  1. Title: Delving More Deeply into Biographical Timeline Facilitation

Description: Will explore clinical and group dynamic issues that arise during the facilitation as well as approaches to help assure that the awareness developed during a biographical timeline process translate into better supports and clinical interventions. Questions collected in advance via a participants’ survey will be addressed during the training.

Audience: People trained in biographical timeline facilitation or who facilitate and/or attend the process regularly and want to enrich the experience and outcomes.
Date: Friday, December 1, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: PA Child Welfare Resource Center (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Register here
Additional information can be found here.

A MyODP account will be required in order to register for these events. If you need technical assistance, please email the MyODP HelpDesk. If you have questions about these programs, please email Carmen Culver.