Question: I have a question. For the SPIL, since this is my first one coming up, will I form a committee to write the SPIL then after its done being wrote send to the DSE, CIL, and SILC chair for confirmation and signatures after public comment?
There is a lot of flexibility to how the SPIL is written, although there is clearly a requirement to include community input both before it is written and after it is written but before it is submitted. How you do that and who does the work varies greatly from one state to the next. This is something you should decide on as a council and write into your policies and procedures.
Some SILCs form a committee for each of the prior SPIL’s goals, and that committee collects information on what has been accomplished and what in that area still needs to be accomplished. This process provides a draft goal(s) or target(s) for the coming year that can then be reviewed by the public at one or more public hearings, and after their input, forged into a plan.
Some SILCs start from scratch every time, soliciting input first, and then forging that input into the draft SPIL.
Often, in both these scenarios, there are hearings at each center, because the centers have consumers, board, staff and partners that may turn out to provide that input. Having a public process doesn’t always assure that the public shows up, so meetings at the centers can help to assure you receive input from the disability community.
Some public input may come from surveys rather than meetings. Centers are required to measure satisfaction of the people they serve. Some states agree together to make sure that the satisfaction surveys are consistent — have at least a few questions in common — and that the results are consolidated into a statewide document that can provide input into the plan.
The centers have a key role in the development and approval of the SPIL, and are the entities most likely to do much of the work. Because the SILC cannot provide direct services, except information and referral, it is important that the CILs agree (at least 51% of them) with the plan for the work to be done for the next three years by the IL network in your state.
Often the heavy lifting — setting up the accessible public meetings, gathering the input, consolidating the input into a document for the SILC to review, and polishing the SILC thoughts into a draft — falls to SILC staff, in states that like yours have staff. In states that don’t have staff, the chair takes a key role and then the DSE often also provides support.
As I said, each state forms its own process within the requirements in the law and regulations. Here are those regulations:
45 CFR §1329.17 General requirements for a State plan.
(a) The State may use funds received under Part B to support the Independent Living Services program and to meet its obligations under the Act, including the section 704(e) requirements that apply to the provision of independent living services. The State plan must stipulate that the State will provide IL services, directly and/or through grants and contracts, with Federal, State or other funds, and must describe how and to whom those funds will be disbursed for this purpose.
(b) In order to receive financial assistance under this part, a State shall submit to the Administrator a State plan for independent living.
(1) The State plan must contain, in the form prescribed by the Administrator, the information set forth in section 704 of the Act, including designation of an Agency to serve as the designated State entity, and such other information requested by the Administrator.
(2) The State plan must contain the assurances set forth in section 704(m) of the Act.
(3) The State plan must be signed in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(4) The State plan must be submitted 90 days before the completion date of the proceeding plan, and otherwise in the time frame and manner prescribed by the Administrator.
(5) The State plan must be approved by the Administrator.
(c) The State plan must cover a period of not more than three years and must be amended whenever necessary to reflect any material change in State law, organization, policy, or agency operations that affects the administration of the State plan.
(d) The State plan must be jointly—
(1) Developed by the chairperson of the SILC, and the directors of the CILs, after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State; and
(2) Signed by the—
(i) Chairperson of the SILC, acting on behalf of and at the direction of the SILC;
(ii) The director of the DSE, signifying agreement to execute the responsibilities of the DSE identified in section 704(c) of the Act; and
(iii) Not less than 51 percent of the directors of the CILs in the State. For purposes of this provision, if a legal entity that constitutes the “CIL” has multiple Part C grants considered as separate Centers for all other purposes, for SPIL signature purposes, it is only considered as one Center. CILs with service areas in more than one State that meet the other applicable requirements are eligible to participate in SPIL development and sign the SPIL in each of the relevant States.
(e) The State plan must provide for the review and revision of the plan, not less than once every three years, to ensure the existence of appropriate planning, financial support and coordination, and other assistance to meet the requirements of section 704(a) of the Act.
(f) The public, including people with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State, must have an opportunity to comment on the State plan prior to its submission to the Administrator and on any revisions to the approved State plan. Meeting this standard for public input from individuals with disabilities requires providing reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures; effective communication and appropriate auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities, which may include the provision of qualified interpreters and information in alternate formats, free of charge.
(1) The requirement for public input in this section may be met by holding public meetings before a preliminary draft State plan is prepared and by providing a preliminary draft State plan for comment prior to submission.
(2) To meet the public input standard of this section, a public meeting requires:
(i) Accessible, appropriate and sufficient notice provided at least 30 days prior to the public meeting through various media available to the general public, such as Web sites, newspapers and public service announcements, and through specific contacts with appropriate constituency groups.
(ii) All notices, including notices published on a Web site, and other written materials provided at or prior to public meetings must be available upon request in accessible formats.
(g) The State plan must identify those provisions that are State-imposed requirements. For purposes of this section, a State-imposed requirement includes any State law, regulation, rule, or policy relating to the DSE’s administration or operation of IL programs under Title VII of the Act, including any rule or policy implementing any Federal law, regulation, or guideline that is beyond what would be required to comply with the regulations in this part.
(h) The State plan must address how the specific requirements in the Act and in paragraph (f) of this section will be met.