IL Guest Blog: Diversion Slots, a Way off HCS Waiting Lists

John Schneider
Arc of Texas Board

July 25, 2014

For people with severe disabilities and their families, living at home and remaining as independent as possible may seem like an uphill battle, in part, because of years-long waiting lists for services. One option for families in the most risky situations is Targeted Home and Community-based Services (HSC) State Supported Living Center (SSLC) Diversion Vacancies (“Diversion Slots”). Diversion Slots offer families a chance to get off the endless waiting lists and get an HCS Medicaid Waiver slot for their loved one, which allows them access to a range of services. While the slots are limited and not everyone can qualify, families may want to explore the Diversion Slot option.

In my case, the need for assistance arose when my wife passed away suddenly. This left me as the only caregiver for my son, who is profoundly autistic. In addition to the strain of caring for Conrad by myself while working full time, Conrad showed increased aggressive behavior both at home and at school. While the folks at Life Path (our local authority or LA) tried to help, the funding available through general revenues was inadequate to secure what we needed. It was getting increasingly difficult to keep Conrad at home.


It was then that Life Path suggested applying for a Diversion Slot. Working with Conrad’s case manager and others, I prepared an application to place Conrad in a State Supported Living Center. This was the last thing I wanted to do. I grew up on Staten Island when the horrific conditions at Willowbrook came to light and I did not want to place Conrad in a setting where such things might occur. But part of the Diversion Slot process included an application to place him in an SSLC.

Once the application for placement in a SSLC was complete, the LA convened a meeting of their Diversion Slot team and myself. During the meeting, it was determined that without additional support, Conrad was at risk of imminent placement in a SSLC and that a Diversion Slot would be appropriate. A recommendation stating so forwarded to the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), and within 6 weeks I was notified that Conrad had been awarded the Slot.


Securing the Diversion Slot enabled me to hire the help Conrad needed to stay at home until he finished school. It then helped us find the great group he moved into after graduation.

While Conrad was clearly eligible for the Diversion Slot under DADS’ guidelines, the application process and eligibility determination went as smoothly as it did because of the good working relationship I had with the LA and the dedication and professionalism of the folks at Life Path. Without their help, Conrad might not have been able to remain in his community.

While not everyone is eligible for a Diversion Slot and the number of slots is limited, families with individuals with severe behavior issues or where the caregiver can no longer provide the necessary care should work with their local authority to explore the possibility of obtaining a Slot.



About John

A man in a collared shirt leans against a wall and smiles at the camera.John Schneider is the father of a young man with autism and currently serves as Board Secretary of the Arc of Texas. His law practice includes assisting individuals with IDD and their families with the transition to adulthood.

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