Choosing a Support Coordination Agency

April 15, 2014

group of adults sitting on park bench

Support Coordination is a service funded by the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).   It is available to individuals who are enrolled in the DDD Supports Program, a Medicaid-based, fee-for-service system.   In order to be eligible for support coordination, an individual must be a resident of New Jersey age 21 or older and be eligible for DDD and Medicaid.

What is Support Coordination?

Support coordination agencies are independent, community-based entities that are Medicaid and DDD-approved to assist individuals in gaining access to needed program and State plan services, as well as needed medical, social, educational and other services.

Support coordination uses a person-centered team approach to assist participants. They assist with planning and budgeting, and connect them to resources, services and supports such as behavioral management, community-based supports, financial management, habilitative services, respite and more..

Participants have the opportunity to choose the support coordination agency they prefer. If an agency is not chosen by the family, one will automatically be assigned by DDD. Since support coordination agencies serve the entire developmental disability community and not just individuals with autism, it is encouraged that families take the opportunity to learn about the prospective agencies and inquire about their knowledge regarding autism-specific services and supports. This way, families can make an informed choice and select the agency that best suits the individual’s needs. Families can arrange ‘meet and greets’ to interview  agencies.

Where can I find a list of Support Coordination Agencies?

Autism New Jersey is expanding its online referral database to include a listing of agencies that are currently Medicaid/DDD-approved to provide Support Coordination services. The database also offers referrals to a variety of other services and supports. Users can quickly locate all agencies that serve their county of residence. Support Coordination agencies can be found by clicking on the category Adult Services, and following the search instructions on the following page. An alphabetical list is also available on the DDD website.

Before Choosing a Support Coordination Agency

What supports will the person need to achieve their goals?

When starting the process of choosing a support coordination agency, individuals and families can start by making a list of what the participant wants for his/her life and what supports they will need. Because it is a person-centered approach, considerations for this list should include:

  • interests, hobbies
  • community involvement and relationships
  • supports needed for behavior, daily living, communication and transportation
  • health and safety concerns.

What do we want from our Support Coordination Agency?

Individuals and families can also make a list of what they want from a support coordination agency and a support coordinator. Considerations include: the agency’s familiarity with

  • the agency’s familiarity with local community and supports
  • how long they have been providing services
  • the average turnover of support coordinators at an agency
  • how big is a support coordinators case load
  • do they understand the individual’s disability

From this list, a comparison can be made of the individual’s wants and needs to the services and expertise offered at each agency.

After Choosing a Support Coordinator

After choosing a support coordination agency, participants work one on one with a support coordinator. This individual works with the participant, their family, and other team members designated by the participant such as family members and friends to develop and maintain an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) and to link the participant to programs and services that match their needs and desired outcomes and ensure that services and supports remain within the allotted budget.

Additional Resources

To assist with the process, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities offers the following questionnaires for participants and families to use when selecting and evaluating a support coordination agency.

Selecting a Support Coordination Agency for People with Disabilities

Selecting a Support Coordination Agency for Families

Evaluating Your Support Coordinator