Services for Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Dane County


Services for adults with developmental disabilities have been developed to promote full consumer participation in the community. Service provision is intended to provide access to the same opportunities and responsibilities that other people the same age are experiencing. Needs and preferences about where to live and work are respected in planning and providing service.

Funding of Services

A combination of County, State, and Federal funding pays for services. Dane County’s Intake Unit determines how money will be allocated to each consumer. Consumers of services and their families and guardians are able to choose how their money is spent as well as who provides the services.

Intake and Referral

In order to be referred to any county-funded service for persons with developmental disabilities, the person must be found eligible for the service system. Each person will receive an assessment for eligibility by the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). After eligibility is determined, the person will most likely be placed on a waiting list. Referrals to services are made through the Intake Unit, and questions regarding one’s status on the waiting list should be addressed to the Intake Unit.

Types of Supports Most People Choose

Supported Living

Supported living describes a means by which people live successfully in their own apartments and homes. Most living situations are homes or apartments rented or owned by the consumer. Supports can be purchased on an individualized basis, and can include staff living in the home with the person(s) needing support, living nearby, or coming into the home on an as-needed basis. Consumers often live with another adult with a disability. If there is a contracted agency, the agency is responsible for hiring, training and monitoring staff. Some people prefer to hire their own staff. The staff people are generally expected to provide learning opportunities in the home and in the community, in accordance with consumer requests.

In addition to supported apartments and homes, some people live in Adult Family Homes with a family that is certified by the county. The family is expected to provide situations for the consumer to participate in the community as well as to learn skills and to share in the maintenance of home life.

Daytime Supports

Most people receiving daytime supports are served through supported employment. Consumers’ employment is determined by their interests and skills, and by the ability to locate appropriate employment opportunities in the community. The support provided is also individualized to the needs of the consumer. Most consumers get to their jobs using public transportation.

Some people work in sheltered workshops or participate in other types of day programs. In these programs, agencies subcontract with area businesses for work; the consumers in the workshops are paid a piece rate based on their productivity. Some programs are very “work-oriented” while others also provide daily living skills training and recreational activities.

There are some small programs assisting people in developing and strengthening their connections to the community. The retirement program assists people in making the transition from work to retirement by developing community alternatives to work that allow a person to continue to feel part of the community. This program is only for those who are at least 55 years old. The YMCA has several programs that assist people in accessing their programs as well as developing other social connections. In addition, consumers and their representatives can choose to use their budgets on alternative support services and programs.

Support and Service Coordination

Support and service coordination describe activities that assist consumers with comprehensive service planning and coordination, monitoring of ongoing services, and management of special funding resources. Consumers entering the Developmental Disabilities service system and those managing their own budgets utilize a support broker to provide support and service coordination as well as assistance with their budgets. Consumers can choose their own Support Brokers.