Center for START Services
START is a research-based model of services and supports for individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) ages six and older who also have a mental health (MH) diagnosis or behavioral health needs. Center for START Services program staff are leaders in the field of mental health & IDD that work with state/regional agencies across the country to facilitate the implementation of START model programs and provide expert training to many professional disciplines that serve individuals with MH/IDD.
The START program model was implemented in 1988 by Dr. Joan Beasley and her team to provide community-based crisis intervention for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs. It is a person-centered, solutions-focused approach that employs positive psychology and other evidence-based practices.
Cited as a model program in the 2002 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities, START is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs.
START is an evidence-informed model that utilizes a national database. The Center for START Services was established in 2009 at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability/UCED.
The Center for START Services provides technical support, clinical expertise, and training and consultation services that support the development of:
- Comprehensive Evaluation of Services & Systems of Care (local and state)
- A systems linkage approach to service provision
- Expert Assessment & Clinical Support
- Outcomes-Based Research & Evaluation
- Short-Term Therapeutic Resources and Opportunities
- Cross Systems Crisis Prevention & Intervention Planning
- Family Support, Education & Outreach
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration
By supporting the development of the cornerstones of the START model as outlined above, START programs and their participants experience an array of benefits including:
- Reduced use of emergency services and state facility/hospital stays
- High rates of satisfaction by families and care recipients
- Cost-effective service delivery
- Increased community involvement and crisis expertise in communities
- Strengthened linkages that enrich systems, increase resources, and fill in service gaps
For more information about the START model, please visit www.centerforstartservices.org.