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Department of Social and Health Services

Telephone: 360-407-1500
E-mail: dddcoreception@dshs.wa.gov

State Website: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/dda/about-developmental-disabilities-administration

Link to County Employment Program Offices: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/dda/county-best-practices

Link to DDA Eligibility Requirements: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/dda/consumers-and-families/eligibility

Link to DDA Employment Provider Search: https://www.statedata.info/washington/search

Participation: 7,713 adult participants were served by the Developmental Disabilities Administration in Employment Services between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

Who is Served: DDA eligible clients, age 21 years and older, who have received a DDA County Service Authorization to receive employment services.

Program Description: DDA Employment Services, contracted through the counties, assist individuals with developmental disabilities to determine their work interests and abilities, find a job, learn the job and keep the job. Support is also provided if a new job or different job is needed, or when job duties change and assistance is needed to learn the new job requirements. DDA employment services provide ongoing support and training for eligible persons to work in integrated community settings.

Program History: During the 1950s and 1960s families of people with developmental disabilities advocated for local service options that would provide alternatives to placing their sons and daughters into state institutions. Kay Epton, a Legislator in Washington State, helped to pass a bill to offer community options with County intervention to include developmental centers that offered an educational experience for those individuals who could not go to school.  The other option was group homes or community living outside the institution.

As a result, in the 1970s and 1980s, many Developmental Centers changed focus to provide day programs for adults with severe developmental disabilities. In 1972 Washington passed the first Education for All bill in the United States - see 1975 Education for All Act - Public Law 94-142. During that time people with mild developmental disabilities were generally served in sheltered workshops, also referred to as prevocational services. At the same time, on the national level, people like Dr. Marc Gold were starting to demonstrate innovative practices for training techniques enabling people with very severe disabilities to learn complex tasks and work independently.

The 1980’s started moving people and services out of institutional settings into community settings.  The County Guidelines were developed promoting the basic interdependent benefits of quality living:  Power and Choice; Relationships; Status Contribution; Integration; Competence; Health and Safety.

1997 to 2000 “Strategies for the Future Long Range Plan” outcome reports Phase I and II.  Stakeholder workgroup recommendations, within these reports, included persons of working age (21 thru 61 years of age) should be gainfully employed, participating, and contributing to community life using a variety of strategies to reach this status in the community.  Specifically, the report states, “Pathways to Employment: Each individual will be supported to pursue his or her own unique path to work, a career, or his or her contribution to/participation in community life.  All individuals, regardless of the challenge of their disability, will be afforded an opportunity to pursue competitive employment.”

2004 Working Age Adult Policy was issued and established employment supports as the first use of employment and day program funds for working age adults (people age 21 thru 61). The policy is intended to promote gainful employment in integrated settings in the community. Counties were given a timeline of July 2006 for full implementation.

2012 Washington State Legislature passed legislation, Senate Bill 6384, to support employment as the first choice for adults of work age.

2014 Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule Home and Community Based Setting (HCBS) requirements states, “Provides opportunities to seek employment and work in competitive integrated settings; ensures the individual receives services in the community to the same degree of access as individuals not receiving HCBS Waiver.”

In 2015 DDA submitted a plan to CMS containing provisions to phase out all Prevocational Services (PVS) by the spring of 2019.  DDA worked collaboratively with counties to transition individuals out of segregated PVS and into integrated Employment or Community Access services.  Counties developed transition plans to assist individuals and agencies to move into integrated services  Agencies and individuals utilized technical assistance such as person-centered planning and business analysis to make the transitions successful.  As of 2017, more than 100 individuals have successfully transitioned from PVS since 2015. 

Planning Cycle: The Developmental Disabilities Administration plans and carries out operations on a state biennium. Counties also prepare and submit plans every two years to DDA.

State Core Measures: The State Core Measures are based on Working Age Adults (21-61) working in integrated settings (Group Supported Employment and Individual Employment). DDA’s strategic goal in Results Washington is to increase the percentage of working age adults with developmental disabilities in DD employment and day programs, who are employed, from 65.2 percent to 66 percent by June 30, 2017.  The latest data shows that this goal has been met:.https://data.results.wa.gov/reports/G4-3-1-b-Developmental-Disability-Employment-1

Outcome Measures: DDA requires counties and their subcontractors to report employment status outcomes including:

  • Wages
  • Work hours
  • Benefits: Medical, Paid Leave, and Retirement
  • Employer(s)
  • Job type(s)

Funding and State Regional Divisions and County Programs: DDA is headquartered at Central Office located in Lacey. State DDA client services, including eligibility determination and case management services, are offered through the three regional offices and several locations across the state. Washington’s 39 counties are primarily responsible for DDA employment services contract administration.

State Funding: $28,600,452 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) State General Fund. This dollar amount represents the state fund portion dedicated solely to employment direct services (Individual Employment, Group Supported Employment, Prevocational Services, and Individual Technical Assistance) from DDA’s overall operating budget.

Federal Funding: $27,566,482 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) Federal Funds. This dollar amount represents the federal fund portion dedicated solely to employment direct services (Individual Employment, Group Supported Employment, Prevocational Services, and Individual Technical Assistance) from DDA’s overall operating budget.

Statutory Authority: State RCW 71A.12, RCW 71A.14, WAC 388.823, WAC 388.825, WAC 388-828, WAC 388.845, WAC 388-850

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