Supported Living And Community Living: Five Principles of SLS and Resources

Supported Living Services

In the late 1980’s it was finally realized that a new service type was needed in California and several staff at DDS, including Julia Mullen and Margaret Anderson, supported a new model.  In 1990, DDS formed a Supported Living Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee agreed upon the following definition:  Supported living services are an array of services that are available to anyone who desires (or whose family, advocate, or conservator desires for her or him when someone cannot express their own choice) facilitation, instruction, support, and assistance to live in the home of his or her choice.

This thinking about what SLS IS and IS NOT is from a retreat hosted by ASA and CIRCL and facilitated by John O’Brien

The California Department of Developmental Services adopted the Five Principles of Supported Living after collaboration with several advocates including; Bill Allen, John Shea, Claudia Bolton, Becky Donofrio, Joe Donofrio, Vicki Vining, Joan Schmidt, and Kathy Campbell.  Shortly thereafter the regulations for SLS were written in 1995 and included reference to these principles.


The Five Principles of Supported and Community Living

A Home of One's Own

  • Individuals live in homes that they own, lease or rent like other members of their community.
  • They choose where they live and with whom, and they control what happens in their home.
  • Individuals are secure in their homes and do not have to move if their needs, their services or their service agency changes.
  • Individuals are safe in their home and neighborhood.

Choice and Self-Directed

  • An Individual makes his or her own everyday choices.
  • Individuals plan for their futures.
  • They direct the services they receive and have a choice of agencies and staff.
  • Individuals are supported (e.g. technology, communication devices, behavioral support) to communicate their preferences, choices and needs.
  • Individuals are satisfied with the services they receive.


  • An individual has family, friends and neighbors who support him or her in regular ways or as paid help.
  • The individual and his or her circle of support work together as a team with the supported living agency and others to share responsibility for his or her well-being.

Community Membership

  • An Individual fully participates in the mainstream of community life.
  • Individuals have opportunities to join clubs, groups, and churches.
  • Individuals use local community resources and generic services.

Flexible, Tailored Services and Supports

  • An Individual has a service plan, which is developed through a person-centered planning process.
  • The plan reflects the support that the individual wants and needs.
  • Services are provided in the person's home and community at times when they are preferred.
  • Services offer the individual opportunities to increase competence, confidence and quality of life.

For more information about Supported Living take a look at the California Supported Living Network website  There is a good section on Myths and Facts.

CIRCL Developed Resources on Supported Living – Funded by the California Department of Developmental Services

A Guide to Single Household Supported Living Services
Developed for Connections for Information and Resources on Community Living (CIRCL) by Kathleen Campbell and Joan Schmidt

Your SLS Training Toolbox
While this documents will help you get started in understanding supported living services, your best teachers are the people you support. And your most important learning tool will be your ability to listen carefully to what they have to say. Enjoy the journey!

Choosing a Supported Living Agency
One of the different things about supported living is that the person who wants supported living and their family have the right to choose who the provider will be. You should carefully evaluate whether the provider’s style of service matches what you are looking for in an agency.

Developing Supported Living Services: A Guide to Essentials for Service Agencies and Regional Centers
You will see here a series of expectations for individuals, agencies and the regional center. Some will seem very basic and others more difficult to meet. The premise of this material is that if we set goals that we know will lead to successful outcomes, we will all be better off for the attempt to reach them.

Individual Quality Check up
Individual Quality Check up for Supported Living Services.

Thoughts About My Life
This workbook began with a wish to help people to write stories about their lives.

Moving Out Forum Summary
From time to time, Connections for Information and Resources on Community Living (CIRCL) sponsors community forums and workshops on different aspects of supported living services. In February, 2004, CIRCL (with funding from the Department of Developmental Services) co-sponsored with the California Supported Living Network (CSLN) a forum on the issues and challenges involved in helping people move from developmental centers into their own homes and communities.

Patterns of Supported Living A Resource Catalogue
People with disabilities have been teaching us that they have unique gifts to offer and that we need to listen to them to figure out how to support them. This resource catalogue is for anyone who wants to know more about supportive living services. It's an older resource, but still relevant.

Supported Living Service Quality Review Process
The SLS Quality Review Process is designed as a comprehensive team review of a provider’s supported living services. By looking at how the provider is doing in supporting a sample of individuals, the team will identify the provider’s areas of strengths and needs.

Getting to Know You
This workbook for getting to know someone was developed from two methods of person centered planning, the Personal Profile and Essential Lifestyle Planning.

TLCPCP Brochure
More informaiton about The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices.

Supported Living - A Good Life
Supported Living - A Good Life All States

A guide to supported living services for people with developmental disabilities.