About the SILC-NET

About the SILC-NET

SILC-NET is a national project that provides information, training, and technical assistance for statewide independent living councils (SILCs). The SILC-NET assists councils to operate effective organizations, fulfill their role in developing state plans for independent living, monitor and review the implementation of the plan, and develop partnerships with other entities in the state to foster effective independent living programs. The SILC-NET is a collaborative project of ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization), NCIL (National Council on Independent Living), APRIL (Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living) and Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities.

About SILCs

Each state and US territory is required to maintain a council in order to receive federal funding for its Independent Living Program. Even though the funding is funneled through a state agency, the SILC cannot be established as an entity within a state agency, and may or may not be established as a nonprofit corporation.

Members of the Council are usually appointed by the governor, but the Council may have a nomination or application process to make sure that the governor has excellent candidates to choose from. These candidates should represent a broad range of individuals with disabilities and organizations interested in individuals with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act, as amended, defines what the general makeup of a Council should look like, but within that definition is latitude, providing opportunities for individuals with a wide range of characteristics to get involved.

The Council and the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) within the state develop a State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL is a document required by law that indicates how the IL Network is going to improve independent living services for individuals with disabilities over the next three years. It identifies the needs and priorities of consumers, providers, and other stakeholders and sets forth goals and objectives to respond to them. The SPIL must be signed by the SILC Chairperson, at least 51% of the CIL directors in the state, and the Director of the Designated State Entity (DSE). The DSE is a state agency that handles the administration of funds and recordkeeping. Its signature on the SPIL is an agreement to serve as the DSE.

The development of the SPIL provides an opportunity for teamwork among the SILC, the CILs and the DSE. It also provides an avenue for individuals with disabilities, family members, entities that provide services to people with disabilities, and other stakeholders to have input into the planning of independent living services within a state. Having a strong network for independent living in a state or territory is crucial. Collaborating on the SPIL development can help create a cohesive and unified vision among all stakeholders who have an interest in issues that impact citizens with disabilities. The next SPIL will be submitted by June 30, 2016. To get involved in your state, click on the state link on the SILC Directory page to find contact information for your state’s SILC.

You are also invited to participate in the SILC Connection Facebook page.