Letter from Director Amy Hewitt

Welcome to the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. The RTC/CL was first funded in 1976. At that time, most people who received services did so in large institutions. They were away from loved ones and without the daily opportunities most of us take for granted in sharing community life. Since that time, much progress has been made. Today, most people living with disabilities enjoy more of community life. The RTC/CL has been instrumental not only in capturing those trends, but in pushing forward the most cutting edge research and translating it through outreach, technical assistance, training, and multiple forms of dissemination.

However, there is much work still to be done! Current systems of support do not do enough to reliably help people stay connected to friends and family, find jobs, and live full, healthy, self-directed lives.

“Today, most people living with disabilities enjoy more of community life...but there is much work yet to be done!”

The RTC/CL embraces this challenge. Below is a snapshot of the many activities we focus on in order to support these critical needs:

Residential Information Systems Project (RISP) - A longitudinal study regarding trends in where people live and payment for these services most often used by decision-makers to understand and communicate about long-term trends and their impact.

Direct Support Workforce Development - Since its inception, the RTC/CL has studied the impact of staff attitudes, competence, and turnover on the lives of people receiving services. We have used this information to improve the quality of the workforce and improve outcomes for people in multiple ways. We will continue to focus on this critical area.

Self-Determination, Social Inclusion, and Employment - At its core community integration is about having a life that has meaningful and rich opportunities regarding living arrangements, employment, contribution, and relationships. We have multiple projects that will help us understand aspects that support people to experience these core facets of community life.

We take pride in our high quality research. At the same time, we recognize even very good knowledge only helps if it is accessible. We consistently push our capacity to translate knowledge effectively and quickly to waiting communities. Achievements like those of the RTC/CL cannot be accomplished alone. We are so grateful for all the national experts, other centers, community members, organizations, individuals with disabilities and family members who partner with us to make our work reflective of real situations and best practices. I hope you will take time to explore the RTC/CL Website fully and join us in our passion for inclusive communities!

About

The Research and Training Center on Community Living provides research, evaluation, training, technical assistance and dissemination to support the aspirations of persons with developmental disabilities to live full, productive and integrated lives in their communities.

Contact

Address: 204 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Drive S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (612) 624-6328
Fax: (612) 625-6619
E-mail: rtc@umn.edu