In the Developmental Disability Services (DDS) system, clinical and crisis supports include state, local and individual supports. When individual clinical supports are not able to prevent a crisis, an individual may require crisis supports. To help meet the needs of Vermonters with developmental disabilities, Developmental Disability Services Division (DDSD) has been working to expand statewide crisis capacity. This includes providing funding to increase crisis bed capacity at Vermont Crisis Intervention Network (VCIN). In addition to crisis bed support, the VCIN team provides the DDS system clinical support through training and targeted consultation to individual teams.
The development of Intensive Transition Supports (ITS) is a complement to the VCIN clinical and crisis supports. ITS beds provide clinical supports for individuals experiencing crisis and who need time and consultation for their team to develop community-based supports. These beds allow for stabilization, clinical consultation, comprehensive assessments, training, planning and implementation with the community-based team. While stays at ITS beds are time-limited, individuals can stay for up to 6 months.
The Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) is one of 20 states that received a federal planning grant to support expanding community-based mobile crisis intervention services. DDSD and stakeholders with I/DD experience are involved in this planning grant. This allows the DDS system to contribute to and learn from best practices that are being developed and implemented.
It is important that the DDS system builds capacity for clinical and crisis services because we are seeing an increase in need for high quality mental health supports. And, when individual needs exceed local clinical resources, it is important that there is a robust statewide response. Working with a variety of stakeholders and partners to address this issue helps to ensure that there are options available other than a hospital’s Emergency Department.