Volunteer Supported Decision-Making
In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed HB 1454 directing the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to develop and evaluate two Volunteer Supported Decision-Making (SDM) Advocate pilot programs to provide SDM services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) was directed by HHSC to develop and implement the pilot program and to provide the legislature with a report and recommendations. Because of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities’ (TCDD) interest in promoting SDM as an option to guardianship, TCDD partnered with DADS to implement the pilot.
Develop a trained pool of volunteers willing to support individuals IDD in making decisions about their own lives as an alternative to guardianship.
The Arc of San Angelo established a pilot program to develop a trained pool of volunteers willing to support individuals with IDD in making decisions about their own lives as an alternative to guardianship. The project started in Tom Green County and expanded into Concho, Irion, McCulloch and Menard counties. Volunteers were trained on disability issues and decision making and were matched with individuals with disabilities based on shared interests. Training included problem-solving scenarios, what constitutes informed consent, the risks of establishing an unnecessary guardianship, and the differences in Substituted Judgment and Best Interest in comparison to SDM.
DADS convened a workgroup to develop the general guidelines and overall structure of the program. The agency planned to oversee the evaluation of the pilot and make recommendations to the legislature about using SDM advocates as an alternative to guardianship.