About SORCe


About SORCe

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Self-determination has become a powerful movement which advocates that individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) have the right to control every aspect of their lives and live with dignity. Self-directed services provide flexibility and individualization that result in higher satisfaction and better quality of life outcomes, making it a best practice for serving individuals with I/DD.

While the evidence in favor of self-determination is strong and has influenced federal policy and allocation of funds for self-directed services through Medicaid, information about how to best implement and access these services is lacking.

The SORCe (Self-Determination Online Resource Center for Empowerment) aims to close this gap by offering a “one-stop” resource for best practices in the design, development, and management of support services and service systems for individuals with I/DD. SORCe is free to the public courtesy of the Optum SPARK Initiative that brings together leaders in government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss solutions to better support individuals with I/DD.

SORCe offers a searchable repository of curated information organized by topic and user, as well as specific resources that best fit needs based upon a role-specific self-determination. Content is organized by user/stakeholder type, geography (states), National Core Indicators (NCI), and specific topics (details below).

The goal of SORCe is to promote creation and utilization of person-centered services and systems that embrace the principles of self-determination.

About the Spark! Initiative


Spark! Initiative

A Focus on Helping Individuals Live a Self-Directed Life

Optum-developed SPARK Initiative brings together leaders in government, non-profit, and private sectors to discuss solutions to better support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For the more than four and a half million Americans* living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), the ability to make their own choices and live independently is high on their list of desires – yet among the most challenging in our current health and human services environment.

Fragmented delivery systems, pre-conceived stereotypes, funding issues, social stigmas, insufficient community supports and training, and lack of coordination in areas that affect lifestyle and well-being – such as education, housing, and employment – all of these are obstacles that individuals with I/DD face as they attempt to live more self-directed and fulfilling lives.So how can government agencies, advocates, providers, the health system, and other stakeholders work in a collaborative fashion to help these individuals live the lives they choose?

Some 25 of these stakeholders – all experts in the I/DD area – gathered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to begin the discussion about the challenges facing Americans with disabilities, the problems with the system that serves them, and a potential direction for solutions. The group convened as part of the Optum “SPARK Initiative” – developed by the health services company to “spark” new thinking on major national health and human services issues.

Spark! Work Group


Derrick Dufresne, MBPA

Dr. Ron Manderscheid

Esmé Grewal

Lynda Zeller

Michael J. Hammond, MSM

Monica Oss

Sara Wilson

Sharon Wellman

Shawn Terrell