Policy Areas

Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) is a foundation to assist individuals and families in creating a vision for the future. It is designed to help us think about the questions to ask as well as the choices and options to consider as we support people in “planning a course” to a full and meaningful life. It is intended to be a starting point no matter where the person is in their life journey.

Charting the LifeCourse helps professionals who serve individuals with complex needs: 1) to build upon their own understanding of the needs of individuals and families, and 2) as a tool to engage with families individually or in group settings. It is a guide for starting conversations about what individuals need to be successful and self-determined throughout their lives.

The training will be held Friday, April 26, 2019, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Capital Area Intermediate Unit, 55 Miller Street, Summerdale, PA 17055. The training will include an overview of the Charting the LifeCourse principles, participant application of the CtLC tools, and examples of how people are using CtLC in supporting people with complex needs.

The training will be presented by Lisa Meyer, who has years of national experience supporting state and local level disability systems, providers, case management, and educational organizations in developing and implementing strategies to support systems change — and embed best practices that support individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families to live purposeful and meaningful lives.

Register here for the training. Registration is first-come, first-served, and space is limited. For questions about this training, email Brenda Smith.


Call for Change Project
In 2004, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Advisory Committee formed a Recovery Work Group, tasked to explore how to transition the adult mental health system in Pennsylvania into a more recovery-oriented approach. The Recovery Work Group was convened, by invitation, to discuss the process of developing a blueprint for building a recovery-oriented service system in Pennsylvania. This collaboration of broad-based stakeholders resulted in A Call for Change, a document that would outline a destination for Systems Transformation and provide guidance on strategies for how to get there.

Because A Call for Change focused on transforming the adult-serving behavioral health system, in 2010, the OMHSAS Children’s Bureau proceeded with developing a document to guide transformation of the child-serving system to one that promotes resiliency for children, youth, and their families.  A Call for Change: Transformation of the Children’s Behavioral Health System in Pennsylvania was drafted as a strategic plan, identifying an ideal array of services, goals, and prioritized action steps to achieve systems change.

Several years have passed since these documents were developed.  In the Fall of 2018, the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council challenged OMHSAS to re-visit A Call for Change, to assess how far Pennsylvania’s  behavioral health system that serves children, youth, and their families, as well as adults and older adults, has progressed with transformation, and to identify priorities for future efforts. OMHSAS agreed to support the assessment of progress and the issuance of A Call for Change, 2019. 

The assessment phase will include regional on-site listening sessions, intended to generate broad-based stakeholder input and dialogue.  Information will be provided on the OMHSAS Listserv as soon as details for the in person listening sessions are available. In addition, OMHSAS is posting an online survey to obtain input from stakeholders who are unable to attend a session.

Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to this email.

ODP Announcement 19-033 serves to distribute the 2017–2018 Annual Data Report, detailing enrollment, self-directed services, employment, residential, targeted services management, and financial trends so that individuals, families, advocates, providers, government officials, and taxpayers can see and measure how many individuals ODP serves, what services are provided, where the individuals live, and what costs are associated with services. The 2017–2018 Annual Data Report is also available on the MyODP Everyday Lives Publications web page.

The 2017–2018 Annual Data Report is a good companion to the annual report published on the performance measures developed by ODP’s Information Sharing and Advisory Committee (ISAC), entitled Everyday Lives: Values in Action Information, Sharing and Advisory Committee (ISAC) Recommendations, Strategies, and Performance Measures. This publication is available on the MyODP Everyday Lives Publications web page.

If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please submit via email.

Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) issued ODP Announcement 19-030 last week (3/11/2019). The Attachment #1 was reissued the following day with corrections.

The previous Attachment 1 was improperly named and did not reflect FY 2019–2020. Please use the updated Attachment 1 – New CPS Service FY 2019–2020.

ODP offers this guidance for creating 2019–2020 FY Renewal Plans. The guidance discusses numerous service changes that impact 2019–2020 Fiscal Year renewals. Also, the related attachment discusses new Community Participation Support (CPS) services effective July 1, 2019. Contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with questions.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data contained in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) report, “Emergency Department Visits for Sports and Recreation-Related (SRR) Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) Among Children – United States, 2010–2016.”

Some of the data includes:

  • An estimated 283,000 children seek care in US emergency departments each year for a sports-or recreation-related TBI
  • Contact sports contributed to nearly half (45 percent) of the SRR-TBI visits examined
  • The activities with the highest number of SRR-TBI visits included: football, bicycling, basketball, playground activities, and soccer
  • Males and children aged 10–14 and 15–17 were most likely to sustain an SRR-TBI

The report includes prevention efforts and strategies to reduce the risk for SRR-TBI, including but not limited to limiting player-to-player collisions through rule changes, teaching strategies to reduce opportunities for head impacts, and using pre-participation athletic examinations to identify athletes at increased risk for TBI.

The CDC has many resources available, including:

Contact Melissa Dehoff, RCPA Director of Rehabilitation Services, with questions.

New Publication
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the Criminal Justice System: Brief Guidance to the States

The opioid epidemic has significantly penetrated the criminal justice (CJ) system. This brief provides guidance to state governments on increasing the availability of evidence-based MAT in CJ settings. By including the CJ system as a path to treatment, states may see an increase in access to and retention in treatment, and lower rates of overdoses, re-offending, and re-incarcerations. In this brief, states are provided an overview of the issue, the challenges to incorporating MAT, key considerations for establishing MAT in CJ settings, and existing standards/guidelines.

Inventory#: PEP19-MATBRIEFCJS  |  Download the Brief Guidance

Contact Lynn Cooper, RCPA Drug & Alcohol Division Director, with questions.


Previous ODP announcements indicated that the discounted cost to complete the supplement portion (Part 2) of the CES training for $170.00 was valid through December 31, 2018. ODP Announcement 19-031 states that the discounted rate of $170.00 has been extended through June 30, 2019. Please use the discount code ACRE2018 in order to obtain the discounted rate through June 30, 2019. Effective July 1, 2019 this cost will increase to $225.00 per learner.

The CES ACRE course consists of two parts: 11 self-directed online modules and a CES ACRE Supplement. To obtain the complete ACRE Basic Certificate of Achievement, participants must complete both Part 1 and Part 2 of the CES Certified Training. For additional information on the background and specifics of the CES ACRE course, please refer to ODP Announcement 090-18.

For individuals who self-direct their employment services through a Participant-Directed Service model, their Support Service Professionals (SSPs) may access CES Part 1 at no charge just as they have accessed the College of Direct Support (CDS) at no charge. These costs may not be assigned to Participant-Directed Goods and Services to cover the cost of the Support Service Professional’s time spent completing Parts 1 and 2 of this program or to cover the cost ($170 or $225) of Part 2.

Individual Providers and Provider Agencies are advised to use the following process if they are interested in obtaining access to CES for their staff.

  1. Decide which individuals your organization wishes to enroll in the CES training. Please be aware that participation in the training must be for individuals required to possess the ACRE Certificate of Achievement. Individuals must complete all the requirements of Parts 1 and Parts 2 in order to obtain the ACRE Basic Certificate of Achievement.
  2. Obtain administrative rights for the number of learners for which your organization is interested in providing CES training.
  3. If your organization is currently providing training to specific learners through CDS, and these same learners need CES training, you do not need to obtain additional administrative rights.
  4. If your organization is new to CES, your organization will need to contact the Elsevier organization to purchase administrative rights based on the number of CES learners your organization wishes to train.
  5. If your organization is interested in both CDS and CES, your organization will need to contact the Elsevier organization to purchase administrative rights based on the number of learners your organization wishes to train.

Please use the following contact information for the Elsevier organization for any questions you have concerning the cost of the administrative rights you are interested in purchasing to support the learners at your organization:

Leigh Evans, Account Specialist Elsevier Clinical Solutions
(404) 799-4009

The Institute on Disabilities (IOD) at Temple University will be the point of contact for all CES learners for enrollment, system user training, and/or technical assistance needed with the utilization of CES:

Thea Phim
(833) 877-8901

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) will be the point of contact for CES learners interested in using Part 2: CES ACRE Supplement to achieve the ACRE Basic Certificate of Achievement. Please contact the ICI via this link.

The College of Employment Services in Pennsylvania is now administered by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. It is funded through Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs, Department of Human Services. If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please submit via email.

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The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) / Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) has announced free statewide professional training: Being An Informed Supporter: What You Should Know About Autism in ODP Announcement 19-026. The training is being offered on four dates in April and May at different locations. There is no cost to attend; however, pre-registration is required.

The following areas will be addressed: social skills, challenging behavior & mental health, employment, family services, community engagement, and communication. Presenters will provide attendees with tools and strategies that will enhance the support for individuals in their homes, communities, jobs, and schools.

Register for the seminar here. For more information, submit questions via email.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) communication 19-029 announces that the Certified Investigation Training Programs Vendor, Temple University of Harrisburg, has established a Quality Investigation Unit (QIU). This unit will be conducting Certified Investigation Peer Reviews (CIPRs) of investigations completed by department certified investigators.

The QIU will be involved in several activities:

  • Complete CIPR for a sample of investigations;
  • Complete ad hoc CIPR upon request;
  • Provide education and consultation regarding the CIPR process; and
  • Provide technical assistance upon request.

The QIU will notify the entity when an investigation has been selected for review and detail the process to securely send case files electronically. Once the CIPR is completed, the QIU will provide feedback regarding the investigation review to the entity and will answer any questions. The results will also be shared with ODP.

For information regarding how to request a CIPR, visit the ODP website under Peer Review Requests.