Transitioning Youth comprise a special category of eligibility and priority for services. Through the Governor's Transitioning Youth Initiative the DDA, in collaboration with the Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS), has been able to fund supported employment and other day services for eligible graduating students who otherwise may not have received DDA services.
Without the Initiative, students leaving the school system would be placed on a lengthy waiting list for adult services. The Governor's Transitioning Youth Initiative earmarks funds in the DDA budget for eligible students leaving school, regardless of the severity of their situation and their relative need for immediate services.
For an individual to be eligible for the Governor's Transitioning Youth Initiative (GTYI) he or she must be found fully eligible as developmentally disabled. The "DD" eligibility criteria states that the person has a severe chronic disability that:
- Is attributable to a physical or mental impairment, other than the sole diagnosis of mental illness, or to a combination of mental and physical impairments;
- Is manifested before the individual attains the age of 22;
- Is likely to continue indefinitely;
- Results in an inability to live independently without external support or continuing and regular assistance;
- Reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other services that are individually planned and coordinated for the individual.
Additionally, the student is eligible from his/her 21st birthday until his/her 22nd birthday. If the date of graduation is after the individual's 21st birthday, the individual shall continue to be eligible for one year after the date of graduation.
The DDA works with its partner agencies in the Governor's Transitioning Youth Initiative to:
- Coordinate with local school systems and DORS in identifying students with developmental disabilities who will be graduating and who appear to be eligible for GTYI.
- Provide outreach and information to families and students about applying to the DDA for services;
- Complete eligibility screening for DDA services while the student is still in school;
- Facilitate transition to adult services or other types of DDA services. This may include referral to generic services by providing information to students, families and schools about the adult service system;
- Assist eligible individuals in accessing the most appropriate vocational supports and commit funding for those services.