Projects and Research

Center on Human Policy researchers have studied educational programs and policies, institutional life, inclusive community life (home, school, employment and friendships), the life experiences of people with disabilities, and a variety of other issues on local, state, national, and international levels. Our staff members rely heavily on qualitative research, which includes participant observation, in-depth interviewing, and analysis of archival materials. The Center is also involved in important policy studies on major issues confronting people with disabilities. Past projects include:
  • The Community for All Project: Provided tools to self-advocates, families, professionals and policymakers working to support the rights of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to community living and participation. Each toolkit contained downloadable materials, a website, and an app. A collaboration with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, the University of Delaware, and the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS).
  • A subcontract with the University of Minnesota’s NIDRR funded Research and Training Center on Community Living and Participation of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities:. CHP staff prepared qualitative case studies of community living and participation, including a focus on supports for community living, self-determination, and related issues. Through previous subcontracts, the CHP was engaged in several studies, including a national study of individual budgets/consumer controlled services; a qualitative study of agencies’ use of the College of Direct Support, which serves as an online educational resource in providing direct support to individuals with developmental disabilities; a qualitative study of inclusion within civic and faith-based organizations; and a qualitative study of self-determination and its impact on the lives of individuals.
  • Through a subcontract with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services, the Center on Human Policy engaged in a study for the National Council on Disability on outcomes in community settings.
  • The Assuring Family Life for Children with Complex Health Care Needs Report (.pdf) examined strategies and challenges related to supporting families with children who have complex health care needs, and addresses issues related to assuring family life for all children. This research project involved qualitative interviews with families and policy analysis focusing on permanency policy in Pennsylvania and nationally. Coordinated with the Every Child Deserves a Home Coalition in Pennsylvania.
  • Self-Advocacy Needs Assessment and Grassroots Campaign: With the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, resulted in the founding of a newly formed statewide organization, Florida Self-Advocates Network’D. The project included a comprehensive assessment of the status of self-advocacy in Florida; a national review of self-advocacy and self-determination practices and resources; in-depth technical assistance to three pilot grassroots self-advocacy groups in at least three geographical areas of Florida. The project was extended to include technical assistance to three additional groups, the development of a website, and a comprehensive self advocacy toolkit.
  • Inclusion Summit Conference with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council: Aimed to gain an understanding of existing systemic barriers, identify options for overcoming the identified barriers, and to develop a strategic plan for supporting and expanding inclusion practices which foster the development of inclusive communities. The project included a comprehensive review of literature, national practices, and laws and the convening of a summit for key stakeholders from throughout the State of Florida, including persons with developmental disabilities, family members, public officials, and advocates. The summit engaged participants in a strategic planning exercise that aligns the education, employment, health, housing, transportation, and related community living systems in a manner that promotes the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in Florida’s communities.
  • Analysis of the Current Florida System of Services for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council: Reported on trends and strengths in the Florida service system, as well as the challenges that prevent individuals with developmental disabilities from achieving a quality of life comparable to other nondisabled citizens in Florida. Liberty Resources, Inc. conducted this project in partnership with the Center on Human Policy. The components included: six forums in Florida to obtain input from individuals with disabilities, families, providers, direct support staff, administrators, and others; interviews with Florida stakeholders; review of state and national reports and materials; and consultation with national experts. The resulting document, Challenges and Opportunities – An Analysis of the Current Florida System of Services for Persons with Disabilities and Future Direction for System Change, provided the initial basis for the development of Florida’s Draft State Plan.
  • A small pilot study on the Implementation of Rider 37 in Texas was conducted from June 1, 2003 through September 30, 2003 by the Community Living Exchange Collaborative at ILRU, the Center on Human Policy, and the Center for Housing and New Community Economics. The objective of the pilot study was to investigate the implementation of Rider 37, with a focus on the transition process as well as quality of life outcomes in the community. Six people who moved out of nursing facilities under the Texas initiative participated in interviews. Individuals who assisted each of the six people in the transition, as well as other key stakeholders, also participated in interviews.