Community of Practice
Supporting Families Community of Practice

In 2012, the US Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) awarded funding to the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) to create a national Community of Practice (CoP) focused on expanding the knowledge base around how to best support families with members with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  This investment directly relates to the key recommendations found in the Wingspread Report, a guiding document created by a group of national leaders in the disability field.  Underpinning all of the work in the national Supporting Families Community of Practice is a commitment to the implementation of the LifeCourse framework.  LifeCourse theory has been defined as an “interdisciplinary theory that seeks to understand the multiple factors that shape people’s lives from birth to death, placing individual and family development in cultural and historical contexts”.  (Hutchinson, 2014)
In May of 2013, the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities in partnership with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) was one of five state teams to receive a grant to participate in the five year Supporting Families Community of Practice study that had been designed by NASDDDS and its core team members. Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington and the District of Columbia were also selected to participate in the national Supporting Families Community of Practice project.  Missouri has also been an active participant in the project through the project leadership of the Institute for Human Resource Development at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  
The Supporting Families Community of Practice is designed to include ideas, innovations and recommendations not only from the states identified but also from the broader community. Volunteers are currently engaged in one of ten Community of Practice committees that are focused on creating the change needed to create a more effective Family Support system. The Community of Practice work will continue over the next three years.  The Supporting Families national website provides access to the national project information and gives access to information about the six states participating in the national Supporting Families five year study.