A self-evaluation of one small but innovative agency providing supported living and other community supports to individuals with developmental disabilities is presented. Key elements that appear to perpetuate a culture of commitment among direct support and supervisory staff are described. Agency staff people have achieved the capacity to listen and respond to individuals and honor their choices. In order to assure that individuals get what they need, staff members take appropriate initiative, work outside of their assigned hours, and support one another. Whereas most human service organizations function within the parameters of well-defined policies and procedures, the agency described here operates more flexibly. The observed pattern of organizational dynamism and reflexivity is compared to that of a living organism.

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