Position Statement — Self-Directed Services

Services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities must be reformed to focus on principles of individual control and self-determination. Self-direction of services can be more cost effective, more responsive to individual needs and has been shown to increase individual satisfaction and quality of life.


Position Statement

  • All individuals with intellectual and/or development disabilities and their families must have the option to exercise consumer control, self-determination, and self-advocacy in the person-centered planning and delivery of services and should not be penalized for choosing self-directed services by funding cuts made only in self-directed options.
  • Every individual and their family must know what the budget for or the cost of their individual services are.
  • Individuals must be allowed to direct the hiring, training, and termination of their staff and have their choice of providers for services. Technical services such as fiscal agents, payroll services, employer of record services and support planners must be available to assist consumers and their families at a reasonable cost.
  • A meaningful quality assurance process must exist to measure outcomes and consumer satisfaction guided by principles of self-determination. These principles include greater control over one’s living situation, meaningful work opportunities without termination of needed services which cannot be obtained elsewhere, facilitating the individual’s participation and membership in the community and facilitating meaningful relationships with people who are not paid staff or family members. (See www.centerforself-determination.com).
  • Self-directed services must be available to all who wish to use them across the state with ongoing training and technical assistance provided to individuals and families under state programs.
  • Sufficient funding must be available for individual needs while agencies, individuals and families work together to achieve cost efficiencies when possible. Contingency funds from the county or state should also be made available for unanticipated expenses due to acute care or crisis.
  • Funding and support must be made available for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to connect with and participate in local, state, and national self-advocacy movements. For additional information, see The Arc of the U.S. statement on Self-Advocacy.



Self-directed services are growing across the country because of a federal mandate to provide options for community based long-term care. It is a cost-efficient way to manage a finite budget for care while respecting each person’s individual preferences. Individuals can live the life they prefer and achieve positive outcomes. It can strengthen the quality of services received and reduce caregiver burnout. Self-directed services allow individuals to maximize the use of natural supports rather than more expensive formal services. The Consumer Directed Community Supports option and other self-directed service options used in Minnesota have demonstrated that individuals and their families can be successful in administering individualized budgets, and that the programs are both accountable and transparent. The Arc Minnesota is committed to self-directed services and consumer control to achieve meaningful lives in the community for all persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, which is consistent with the goals set forth in Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan.


Approved by The Arc Minnesota Position Statements Task Force, July 18, 2016.

Approved by The Arc Minnesota Public Policy Committee, July 20, 2016.

Approved by The Arc Minnesota Board of Directors, August 13, 2016.

Approved by delegates at The Arc Minnesota Annual Meeting, September 23, 2016.