DDS Holiday Message and December Updates

2023 Seasons Greetings

DDS Stakeholders, 

Season’s Greetings!

As we approach the end of another year and enjoy the holiday season ahead, we wanted to take a moment to extend our warmest wishes to every one of you. The Department of Developmental Services has had the privilege of working closely with you on many initiatives this year, and we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your collaboration and commitment.

Thanks to your support, we have made significant changes that have greatly improved our system this year. The vital supports and services we provide have made a difference in the lives of many individuals, and your contributions have made a positive impact in our communities. Thanks to ARPA funding (American Rescue Plan Act), we have been empowered to make even more meaningful transformations. This federal support has allowed us to focus on enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual disability who aspire to attain greater independence. We have already seen a positive impact and we look forward to continuing this work in the year ahead.

This year, our big focus was the STEP initiative to Support Transformation and Empower People. We dedicated significant efforts to ensure that essential tools and resources are readily accessible to families, individuals, providers, and our staff. These resources are designed to empower those who aspire to achieve greater independence but may be unsure about where to start or how to proceed. You can see some of these resources, like the STEP video series that demonstrates STEP’s core supports on our website at

Looking ahead to 2024, we will continue having conversations about ways we can improve our outreach and our communications, as we look towards more exciting developments at DDS. We made real improvements this year, but we can always do more. We will keep working to ensure DDS staff has up-to-date information to share with all individuals and families.

For our providers and the families who self-direct, we understand the importance of finding and retaining quality staff. We are actively working on both long-term strategies and short-term solutions to help. Your continued support is greatly appreciated as we navigate these improvements.

With the success of STEP this year, we have witnessed individuals securing new employment and transitioning into their own residences, some for the very first time. I'm eager to see this positive momentum carry forward into the coming year. Your participation in our meetings and online discussions throughout the year has been important, and I look forward to this continued engagement.

On behalf of DDS, I extend my warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year. May it be filled with health, happiness, and success for you and your loved ones. I am excited to see what we can achieve together in the coming year.

Happy Holidays!

Jordan A. Scheff  
DDS Commissioner

December Updates and Upcoming News
If you haven’t already, please sign up for our monthly DDS e-newsletter or our quarterly text message program to receive important DDS updates here:

Visit the DDS calendar here to see all upcoming events: Webinar - December 7
DDS hosted a free webinar on December 7th: How to use the newly updated a free DDS resource to find staff for anyone who self-directs or is interested in self-direction! The webinar recording and presentation slides are posted here on the DDS website:

Fourth Tuesday Forum on Remote Supports Solutions - January 23
The next Fourth Tuesday Forum will be January 23, 2024 at 3 pm on remote supports solutions. Check the DDS website for information on how to join via Microsoft Teams. 

New DDS website coming in January
A new and improved DDS website is coming in January 2024. Across Connecticut, many agencies and department websites are being updated. The new DDS website will look similar to the new Department of Labor website.

We will keep all stakeholders informed when the website is updated. As the new website is launched, we encourage everyone to become familiar with the new navigation of the website. Improvements to the DDS website will include an easier to use and navigate website, more centralized information and more news and updates from DDS. 

STEP Survey in January
Over the past year, DDS has shared information and updates on our STEP initiative. In January, we will mail a survey to give you an opportunity to provide feedback on STEP.  Please help us by answering the questions in the survey when you receive it in the mail. The survey will come with directions on how to complete and return it to DDS. There will also be an option to respond to the survey online.

This survey may look familiar to some of you who were sent a similar survey in January 2023. Your feedback will help us improve and enhance our communications and initiatives at DDS over the coming years.

Community Companion Homes featured in Hartford Courant!
Minnie James, a Community Companion Homes provider, wrote an op-ed about her experience being a CCH host. Read the story here:

"A Community Companion Home helps to replicate the environment of family care by matching an individual with intellectual disability to a family who is willing to have that person live in their home just like a member of the family. CCH providers give on-going care to the individual with help from professional nurses, case managers, and other coordinators. The results benefit parents, families, individuals in need of support, and the providers who open their homes to provide care."