Disabilities and Social Services

Evaluation of Supported Living Programs for Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services

  • Eileen Sparling, Principal Investigator
  • Rochelle Brittingham, Associate Scientist
  • Dana Holz, Associate Scientist
  • Cheryl Ackerman, Scientist
  • Megan Stevens, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Bethany Waite, Graduate Research Assistant

This project is designed to assist the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) in evaluation of the Supported Living Model to inform future planning and service development for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Delaware. This inquiry will assess the model in the context of what are the elements of a successful Supported Living Model for the stakeholders involved: individuals receiving services, families, funding agencies and administrative agencies. The goal of this project is to determine what are the essential elements for success in a supported living model, what features are most important to stakeholders, how this importance varies across the range of stakeholders, and what are the essential elements of an ongoing evaluation plan for Supported Living Models. Data collection for this project will include an electronic survey and qualitative interviews. Reporting will include establishing targets for community engagement and delivery of a public-facing report of findings and recommendations, scheduled to be released in the summer of 2023. This project is funded by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People with Disabilities in Delaware

  • Eileen Sparling, Principal Investigator
  • Rochelle Brittingham, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Madeline Stenger, Research Associate
  • Ilia King, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Natalie Walton, Research Assistant

This project documents the experiences of people with disabilities in Delaware during the 2020 pandemic by examining a number of data sources, listening sessions, and discussions with individuals involved in the COVID-19 response. A visual version of the report – an online story map – is available at https://arcg.is/19XLqD.

The report explores a myriad of risk factors that aligned during the COVID-19 pandemic to make people with disabilities among the most vulnerable segments of the population and highlights the resilience of the disability community in the face of increased social isolation, structural challenges to services, and disproportionate loss of life. The report also explores the actions taken to overcome these issues, and how these actions can be used as first steps in the path forward to decrease the disparities this community will experience in future public health emergencies.

Read the full report.

Including Youth with Disabilities in the Youth Tobacco Survery

  • Steven S. Martin, Principal Investigator
  • Eileen Sparling, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Elizabeth Dubravcic, Co-Investigator
  • Roberta Gealt, Senior Consultant
  • Mia Papas, Project Mentor
  • Initiation date: 2014; Funding Source: ACCEL-ACE

Statewide surveys routinely monitor the prevalence of health risk behaviors and inform prevention interventions.  Current youth sampling protocols include public middle and high school students in regular, graded classrooms with fewer than 50% students with special educational needs.  This project seeks to develop an accommodation protocol that will allow school health surveys to be conducted among students in special education classrooms and schools.  The project is guided by an Advisory Panel representing communities of students with disabilities, parents, teachers, school administrators, health professionals and staff from federal and state partner agencies.  Key informant interviews, classroom observation and focus groups will be used to identify potential barriers and accommodations.  New disability screening questions will be added to Delaware’s YTS and field-tested along with the new protocol.  This project involves the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies, Center for Drug and Health Studies and the State of Delaware’s Division of Public Health. ​