An Introduction to Consumer Service Records, Independent Living Plans, and Service Coordination for CILs

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Produced by the CIL-NET in 2014, this 58-page manual contains information on service coordination and consumer control, core services, interviewing and assessing needs, goal setting with consumers, and consumer service record documentation. A downloadable MS docx file.

About this Publication

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) provide vital services that positively impact individuals with disabilities, service providers, local communities, and overall systems. CILs make it possible for individuals with disabilities of all ages to live more independently. CILs strengthen support systems and increase the accessibility of communities. CILs also shape and improve local, state, and national disability policies.

No other agency provides similar services under the IL consumer control model. If CILs are unable to do this, there probably will be less and less consumer voice in the service systems across the country. So for all these reasons, CILs should be better equipped to provide service coordination within and among the core services, and link with other community services and programs.

CILs must also employ sound management practices in all areas of governance and operations. Effective records management and reporting practices are fundamental areas that provide a solid foundation of accountability to the CIL’s consumers, communities, and funding sources. The IL-NET has adapted this guide from three online self-study tutorials and an on-location service coordination training course to help CILs meet these requirements. This guide and online course will help staff learn more efficient and effective ways of accomplishing service coordination, creating accurate service records, fostering consumer control, and engaging in advocacy, which will support high quality services to CIL constituents.

There are five chapters in the guide. The first chapter provides more information on service coordination and consumer control. Topics include setting the stage to enhance consumer control; assisting consumers with determining their own best solutions; empowering CIL administration, staff and consumers; providing seamless and interconnected services; identifying the best approach to connect consumers to services; and developing agency relationships.

The second chapter covers core services. Sections include the reasons why I&R is a core service; staffing I&R services; completing documentation and tracking data; providing peer support for consumers and staff; offering practical IL skills training; and conducting effective individual and systems advocacy.

The third chapter contains information on interviewing and assessing needs. This chapter describes the key elements of an effective interview with strategies to support consumer control, identifying needs, the principles of a strengths-based approach, and the documentation required in the Consumer Service Record (CSR).

The fourth chapter discusses goal setting with consumers. Topics include helping consumers consider, identify, write and reach their independent living and community integration goals in significant life areas; the reporting requirements of the annual 704 Report; the significance of goals in meeting federal requirements for the CSR; and the importance of planning activities and utilizing core services to achieve goals—determining what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who is responsible.

The fifth chapter covers consumer service record documentation, including federal requirements for record keeping and reporting, related requirements for the annual federal 704 Report of services and activities, useful practices for gathering consumer information, developing Independent Living Plans, and maintaining complete and accurate records.

Within this manual, service coordination practices will be described in the context of assisting consumers with accessing the services they want and need. Sections focus on the information and referral process, interviewing, goal setting, service planning (IL plans), service coordination, advocacy, and follow-up. From the moment an individual with a disability contacts the CIL until the CSR is closed, service coordination is the thread that connects all the various activities and supports consumers to reach their goals.

Please Note: The Rehabilitation Act was reauthorized in 2014 with the passage of the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) and implementing regulations are now final. Documents related to the independent living program posted to this site are being updated to reflect those regulations.