A priority for the Council has been ensuring that agencies and systems that support people with disabilities are "person-centered" at all levels, driven by the goals of the people with disabilities that they serve. Too often, regulations and policies actually get in the way of helping people with disabilities live the kinds of lives they want to live.
From 2006-2013, the Council launched an intensive "person-centered organizations" initiative that used person-centered communication tools to guide decision-making within local and state agencies.
A person-centered organization goes beyond just using person-centered planning or practices on an individual level with people the agency serves. These agencies undergo a comprehensive process to look at their policies, processes and decision-making at every level of the agency to remove barriers that might impact the quality of life of the individuals they serve.
These agencies have committed to promoting organizational policies and daily decision-making that support person-centered values throughout every level of the organization, from direct support staff to top management.
Staff of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities have become certified as trainers in using person-centered tools and helping disability service providers become person-centered organizations.
Learn more on DIDD's website about their ongoing work to train and certify "person-centered organizations." As of Dec. 2018, there are 20 certified person-centered organizations across Tennessee.
Outcomes of the Council's project from 2006-2013:
- 20 credentialed Person Centered Thinking Trainers.
- Four credentialed Mentor Trainers.
- Over 300 Coaches trained and working at provider agencies across the state.
- Annual community of practice conference held called “The Tennessee Gathering”.
- Established Person Centered Planning Units at each DIDD regional office.
- The Individual Support Plan template was rewritten and simplified to reflect person-centered thinking values.
- Provider documentation requirements reviewed and rewritten.