Best Practices: Supported Living Services


This document describes Harbor Regional Center’s expectations for supported living services (SLS).  These expectations reflect what people in supported living, their family members, Regional Center staff, and service providers have told us what this service should be like. 

Underlying these expectations are the principles of client self-determination and person-centered planning.  People with disabilities make their own choices about how they live their lives.  These choices are respected.  The primary purpose of supported living is to give clients the help they need to become as independent as possible and to achieve the outcomes they choose for themselves.  Client choice guides supported living services as long as these choices do not pose a threat to the client’s health or safety.


The SLS agency’s mission statement specifically promotes respect for people with disabilities and participation of these people in the community.

SLS instructors know the SLS agency’s mission statement and can explain how it affects what they do with clients.

Client Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Clients are entitled to receive SLS without regard for their abilities and personal characteristics; clients receiving SLS are responsible to fully participate.  
  2. Clients’ training and support schedules are set up to accommodate their needs and preferences; clients are responsible for notifying the SLS agency of changes in advance.
  3. Clients have the major role in selecting their SLS agency and may request a change if they believe the match is not a good one; clients residing in the same residence consider receiving SLS from the same agency. 
  4. Clients are not required to move out of their home if they request a different SLS agency; prior to requesting a change, clients express their concerns or dissatisfaction with the SLS agency to provide the agency with the opportunity to offer a resolution. 
  5. Clients participate in selecting their housemates; clients equally share the responsibilities of the residence with their housemate(s).
  6. Clients that are not conserved have the right to direct their own services.
  7. Clients give consent before their SLS instructor talks to family members about the clients’ lives.
  8. If a client wants their family to be involved in their lives, the SLS instructor assists to find appropriate ways for family members to do this.

Client Training and Support

Clients receive assessment, training, and support as necessary, to help them do the following:

  1. Live their lives as valued members of the community,
  2. Stay safe from harm,
  3. Stay healthy,
  4. Pay their bills and meet other financial responsibilities,
  5. Develop positive housemate, landlord, and neighbor interactions and relationships,
  6. Develop and keep friendships and other personal relationships, and
  7. Engage in activities of their choice at home and in the community.
  8. Clients who are parents have access to positive parenting instruction.
  9. Clients are given reasonable opportunity to master skills and activities that they choose as goals. 
  10. Clients receive assistance from their SLS instructors to screen, interview, hire, and terminate personal attendants.
  11. SLS instructors are knowledgeable about the clients’ medical needs.

SLS Agency Responsibilities

The SLS agency provides initial employment training for SLS instructors that includes:

  1. Overview of Intellectual Disabilities,
  2. Communication skills,
  3. Conflict resolution,
  4. Teaching techniques,
  5. Basic principles of how people learn,
  6. Assistive technology and how it may be helpful to their clients, and
  7. Common medications and their side effects.
  8. The SLS agency ensures that information about generic programs such as IHSS, SSI/SSA, HUD, and mental health services is readily available to SLS instructors.
  9. The SLS agency pays the SLS instructors at least 150% of minimum wage and for at least 6 hours per month of non-direct care activities such as training and supervision.
  10. The SLS agency requires the SLS instructors to attend outside training conducted by the Regional Center and/or other organizations.
  11. The SLS agency ensures that the SLS instructors are observed by their immediate supervisors at least once per month.
  12. The SLS agency has an internal coordinator of Quality Assurance.
  13. The SLS agency ensures that SLS instructors maintain regular contact with the Regional Center and regularly attend meetings.
  14. The SLS agency ensures that the Regional Center is provided with all required reports and documentation promptly.
  15. The SLS agency provides clients the opportunity to evaluate their SLS instructor and report whether or not they are satisfied. 
  16. The SLS agency includes the client in the process if there is a need to change their SLS instructor.
  17. The SLS agency ensures that the client receives services from a backup instructor whom he or she knows if their SLS instructor is temporarily unavailable.
  18. The SLS agency ensures that the SLS instructors communicate with the clients using the clients’ preferred language and method of communication.
  19. The SLS agency is available and accessible to the clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and ensures that the clients are advised of the means of communication.