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Growth in Community-based Non-work

Data Note 41


Originally published: 11/2012

Data Source: The National Survey of State Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Day and Employment Services (IDD Agency Survey)

This Data Note is an excerpt from StateData: the National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes 2011 available at http://statedata.info/statedatabook/

Community-based non-work (CBNW) refers to services focused on supporting people with disabilities to access community activities in settings where most people do not have disabilities. Often referred to as community integration or community participation, the definition specifies that individuals spend 50% or more of their time in integrated community settings.

Understanding the role of community-based non-work (CBNW) services is complex. While different data sources suggest different levels of investment, there is consistent evidence that the service is being used more frequently. The number of states reporting that they provide CBNW services on the IDD Agency Survey grew from 18 in FY1996 to 30 in FY2010. Nationally, the reported participation in CBNW services has grown steadily for states that report it as a service, from 18.7% in FY1999 to 47% in FY2010.

CBNW services also accounted for 57.7% of state IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) agency expenditures for FY2010, for states that reported expenditures for this service (n=27). Data collected directly from community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) on the 2010-2011 National Survey of Community Rehabilitation Providers suggest a lower level of participation in CBNW, only 16.4% in 2010. However, over time CRPs have also reported growth in CBNW, from 10% for the 2001-2002 CRP Survey to 16.4% in 2010 (Domin and Butterworth, 2012).

CRP and IDD agency responses are not directly comparable, and may reflect differing approaches to reporting duplication of service. The disparity raises concerns about how state agencies are defining and categorizing services. There is currently a limited amount of data on the structure, activities, and outcomes of this service, and states have not established clear service expectations or quality-assurance strategies (Sulewski, Butterworth, & Gilmore, 2008; Sulewski, 2010). While some states report service requirements for how much time CBNW participants spend in the community, it is possible that in some cases states have reclassified services from facility-based to community-based as the emphasis on community participation grows, even though substantial time is still spent in facility-based settings.

Examining a subset of 11 states that were able to provide complete service data over the past four data-collection periods found that CBNW services have continued to grow, possibly at the expense of integrated employment (Table 1). The percentage of individuals receiving CBNW services increased from 41% in FY2007 to 45% in FY2010; however, there was not an increase in integrated employment participation in these states. As the prevalence of CBNW services grows, additional research is needed on whether these services enhance or impede integrated employment outcomes and how CBNW services contribute to meaningful daytime activities for individuals with IDD.

Table 1
Year Total Served Integrated Employment Facility-based Work Facility-based Non-work Community-based Non-work
2007 134,890 Percent by Service 20% (n=26,645) 23% (n=30,929) 22% (n= 29,079) 41% (n= 54,733)
2008 133,973 Percent by Service 24% (n= 31,757) 23% (n=31,255) 21% (n=28,291) 43% (n=57,533)
2009 146,423 Percent by Service 21% (n=31,331) 21% (n=30,961) 22% (n=32,080) 40% (n=57,852)
2010 147,603 Percent by Service 21% (n=31,233) 22% (n=33,176) 22% (n=32,817) 45% (n=66,360)

1 States were included in this analysis if they provided data on the number served in integrated employment, facility-based work, facility-based non-work, and community-based non-work services for all years between 2007 and 2010. The 11 states included were CO, IN, KS, MA, NC, NV, NY, SD, VA, WA, and WY.


Domin, D. & Butterworth, J. (2012). The 2010-2011 National Survey of Community Rehabilitation Providers. Report 1: Overview of Services, Trends and Provider Characteristics. Research to Practice Brief. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Sulewski, J. S., Butterworth, J., & Gilmore, D. S. (2008). Community-based non-work supports: Findings from the national survey of day and employment programs for people with developmental disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 46(6),456- 467.

Sulewski, J. S. (2010). In search of meaningful daytimes: Case studies of community- based non-work supports. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 35(1-2), 39-54.

Suggested Citation

Winsor, J. E. and Butterworth, J. (2012). Growth in community-based non-work. DataNote Series, Data Note 41. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.