Official State of Rhode Island website
Get the latest information about Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on our resource page
Rhode Island is one of 46 states focused on Employment First and has an official state policy: that employment in the community is the first and preferred service option for people with disabilities. This promotes community-based, integrated employment as the first option for employment and is part of the national movement toward a greater emphasis on community employment. This echoes a general shift toward services designed to integrate individuals with disabilities into their communities, providing them with the same opportunities and responsibilities as all citizens. For an overview of Employment First, you can read the Association of People Supporting Employment (APSE) Employment First Statement.
When it comes to providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities, Rhode Island is a “community first” State. We believe that people with developmental disabilities are an important part of their communities. They deserve the opportunity to live, work, and receive services in the community, alongside individuals without disabilities, whenever possible.
This policy reflects the final rule for home and community-based services issued by the federal government. These rules provide opportunities for individuals to receive services in their own home or community, rather than institutions or other isolated settings. States must comply with these rules by 2022 for all services provided with Medicaid funding.
In Rhode Island, this means that by 2022, anyone receiving developmental disabilities services must receive those services in the least restrictive setting appropriate to his or her needs.
When new applicants apply to receive services, we’ll look first at how we can deliver those services in the most community-based, independent setting possible. Some people may require more intensive services, depending on their needs. But we will always look first at community-based options.
We can also work individuals and families to transition their services to home- and community-based settings. For more information, call or speak with your social case worker.