The process of supported decision making was developed as a result of an investigation of the State of Mississippi's Service System for Persons with Mental Illness and Developmental Disabilities by The United States Department of Justice. The investigation revealed Mississippi's Service System for Persons with Disabilities is the most institution-reliant system in the United States. "Mississippi is consistently ranked as one of the worst, and often the worst, on measures of whether persons with disabilities are being served in integrated settings. Mississippi also spends more money proportionally on institutional care, and less on community services, than any other state." Research by the United Stated Department of Justice also indicated that in Mississippi DD facilities, State facility directors serve as guardians or "surrogates" for over 160 individuals across six facilities in the State of Mississippi.
In an effort to address this concern, The Arc of Mississippi developed its Supported Decision Making Initiative. The Arc has developed a three tiered process that identifies and appropriately addresses the level of support for each person needing services. To assure that the process is person centered, The Arc conducts face-to-face to interviews with each person and those who know most about the person. The Arc has been instrumental in restoring individual guardianship for several people who were not truly in need of the oversight.
If you or someone you know could benefit from our Supported Decision Making program, please contact Matt Nalker for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).