Initial Supported Decision-Making Pilot: CPR and Nonotuck

The Center for Public Representation and Nonotuck Resources Associates, an innovative social service provider, partnered on one of the first demonstrations of supported decision-making in the nation.

Through the pilot, nine individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) created support networks to help them reach their own decisions on life matters, such as housing, health care, jobs, and relationships. The individuals in the pilot lived in Western Massachusetts.

The pilot was guided by an Advisory Council, which included people with disabilities, advocates, judges, and service providers.

Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), a nonprofit research and consulting organization, conducted an independent evaluation of the pilot to identify best practices and challenges for supported decision-making. Read HSRI’s evaluations of the pilot project here.

The CPR-Nonotuck Pilot Project has two over-arching goals:

(1) Maximize individuals’ independence. By making their own decisions with the help of supporters, pilot participants will gain confidence and become better self-advocates. They will have both a voice and a presence in the community.

(2) Identify best practices that can be replicated to advance supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship.

How The Pilot Project Works

  • Pilot participants entered into Representation Agreements that describe how supported decision-making will work for them. These agreements specified areas where they need help making decisions and designate supporters to help them reach their decisions.
  • Supporters were selected by the pilot participant. Supporters can be family members, friends, and providers. Supporters sign statements that they will respect the pilot participant’s choices and decisions.
  • Supporters can help with decisions about anything the pilot participant wants, such as healthcare, finance, employment, living arrangements, and relationships.
  • Pilot participants signed Representation Agreements before a notary public who stamps, signs, and dates the Agreement.
  • Pilot participants also used other legal forms to establish their choices. Many pilot participants designated a health care proxy who can make choices about health care if the pilot participant becomes incapacitated.  Additionally, some participants executed a form for a durable springing power of attorney.