Self-directed home and community based services (HCBS) waiver services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have become a viable and widely used method of service provision in the United States. Grounded in theories of self-determination, previous literature on self-direction has suggested high satisfaction and positive outcomes for people who use self-directed programs as well as cost savings for state IDD service systems. This study explored the ways in which state IDD service administrators think about how self-direction may be used as a method of achieving cost savings while providing opportunities for people with IDD and their families to exercise choice and control. Informed by 54 high-level IDD service administrators in 34 states, and guided by a thematic analysis approach to data interpretation, the study found evidence that administrators typically see strong potential for self-direction to have cost-savings benefits, while also fostering choice. In the current political climate, the need for cautious fiscal stewardship may become a stronger driving force behind self-direction for people with IDD in the United States.

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