Developmental Disabilities


Self-Directed Support

Dane County uses a model of service called Self-Directed Support (SDS). It is also known as self-determination. In this service model, the person receiving services and those who know the person well, such as the family, guardian, and friends along with a Support Broker decide how best to use the money allocated for needed service(s). A Support Broker provides the support and service coordination needed to ensure the person’s support plan and coinciding budget for service provision are being followed.

The key elements of Self-Directed Support are:

  • Consumer control over an individual budget.
    • The county sets an annual budget for the individual. The budget is based on the cost of past supports and current circumstances.
    • Individuals, and those who know them well, plan services within the amount of the budget. They have the opportunity to determine what to buy, who to buy it from and when to buy it.
  • Use of a support broker.
    • The support broker is responsible for assisting with the development and implementation of the person’s plan.
    • The consumer chooses the support broker.
    • The support broker’s responsibilities are:
      • Helping identify the individual’s goals.
      • Developing individualized support plans. Plans include how the individual wants to live, and also those elements of an individual’s life that are non-negotiable (those things that cannot be compromised).
      • Identifying informal and generic supports as well as traditional human service agencies.
      • Helping to choose supports that fulfill the goals of the individualized plan.
      • Using the allocated budget creatively.
      • Negotiating rates and contracting for services with the chosen providers.
      • Monitoring the supports for quality on an ongoing basis.
  • Assistance with managing budgets.
    • Consumer control of funds does not require that the consumer have the skills or commitment to carry out money management.
    • The broker can help arrange for a variety of methods of payment. Some, such as contracting, will look similar to today’s system. Others, such as use of employment services to directly hire staff, will be quite different.
    • A fiscal management agency makes sure that the money is spent as written in the individualized plan.
  • Ensuring quality, health and safety.
    • The support broker is responsible for making sure that plans protect consumer health and safety.
    • The current protective systems for the prevention of abuse and neglect will remain in place.
    • Additional evaluation tools will be used to measure consumer satisfaction, level of consumer control, and achievement of consumer goals.