What Agencies Exist?
Sometimes just knowing what agencies exist and what supports they can provide takes research and planning. Below are statewide agencies that are typically involved with students with disabilities and support goals in the three main post-secondary areas of post-secondary education and training, employment, and independent living.
- Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
- Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)
- Bureau of Autism Services (BAS)
- Office of Long-Term Living
- Office for Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF)
- Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDPP)
- ARC of PA
Benefits of Cross Agency Collaboration
No one agency can meet all the needs of a transition-aged student. Effective transition planning requires shared expertise and a wide range of resources and services. When agencies work collaboratively, they help create a bridge for students with disabilities from school to post-school activities and environments. Interagency collaboration is a means to:
- Coordinate services and supports
- Identify and address gaps in services within the community
- Share and leverage resources to reduce costs
- Promote efficient service delivery
How Can Agencies Support Transition-Aged Students?
Understanding the services that can be provided is important to ensure the right people are at the table:
Office Of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
OVR offers a continuum of services for students with disabilities that include Pre-Employment Transition Services and Individualized Vocational Rehabilitation services.
Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)
ODP offers a range of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities around employment and community living.
Bureau of Autism Services (BAS)
The BAS offers support for individuals on the Autism Spectrum, including the Adult Autism Waiver and Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) to support the transition into adulthood.
Other Agency Partners
There are many other agencies that could be involved in a student’s planning process depending on individual needs and situations. Schools should discuss with families what agencies are currently involved with their students and what agencies to consider.
The PA Community on Transition offers resources on a variety of topics, all focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.