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History of Prince George’s Provider Council

During the early 1980s a small group of providers serving people with disabilities and their families began coming together for support and advocacy in Prince George’s County. The founding members of the group included the Arc Prince George’s County, Ardmore Enterprises, Melwood, VSI (now New Horizons Supported Services), Family Services Foundation, CHI Centers, SMVI (now EPIC), CALMRA, and the Hope Center (which later merged with Melwood). This small group evolved into the Prince George’s Provider Council.

The group met regularly at the Arc Prince George’s County. The focus of their work was primarily expanding the services available to county residents, advocating for community opportunities for those who resided at Great Oaks (the state institution for those from the Southern Region), educating the community regarding the needs of people with developmental disabilities, and working with the Prince George’s County Public Schools to promote more inclusive educational opportunities for students with developmental disabilities. In these early years, services for people, as well as the number of providers, expanded as the group’s advocacy for additional state funding to serve county residents increased.

Through the 1980s and 1990s:

Maryland continued its efforts to decrease the number of people supported in institutional settings. The transition of these individuals into the community required increased community services and support. The provider community stepped up to the plate.


• Service coordination, or case management services, were provided by one county agency during this time.  From the 1980s until 2002, the Prince George’s County Government provided a small supplement to assist providers who were serving county residents in day programs and/or residential services. This funding supplement was later terminated.

Through the 2000s and 2020s:

Prince George’s County notified the state that it would no longer provide service coordination. Therefore, an RFP was issued for the development of these services. The Provider Council responded, and the group’s proposal was selected. As a result, Resource Connections, Inc., a nonprofit was formed and officially funded to operate July 1, 2003.

• Through the efforts of the Provider Council, a behavior plan oversight and technical assistance for many county DD and some mental health agencies was conducted as well as a collaboration with Prince George’s Community College to offer DDA mandated training for Direct Support staff. This effort continued for several years.

• The Provider Council embarked on its first Annual Employment Awards Breakfast, held October 2015 as part of National Disabilities Employment Awareness month to recognize excellence among employees, direct support professionals/job coaches, and employers. The program continues today.

• The Provider Council created and distributed a Model Lease Agreement for use by providers and people transitioning from residential group homes, as well as a guide for restructuring residential programs. This was in response to helping providers comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Final Rule and its outcome of full community inclusion.

• The Provider Council co-sponsors two Transitioning Youth Fairs to educate students and their families about options for adult services to support the successful transition of young adults from high school to adult services. The program continues to this day.

• Life After High School, a guide for transitioning youth and their families was created that summarizes in clear, concise language, steps students and families can take to prepare for the future.

• The Provider Council becomes a nonprofit organization in 2021 to continue its work to advocate, collaborate, and educate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Focus Areas:

In its meetings, the Provider Council identified focus areas for its work going forward:
• Advocacy to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities residing and working in Prince George’s County have the support they need to be successful and live a life of their own choosing.

• Greater visibility of the county-wide provider community and efforts to strengthen the infrastructure of Prince George’s systems of support.

• Enhanced collaboration to increase communication and sharing of best practices in a wide range of areas.

• Promoting community inclusion while increasing opportunities for people supported by member agencies.


A member-strong and well-organized body, the Provider Council took on major advocacy initiatives in areas critical to the disability community. Prince George’s County had legislated an increase in the minimum wage. The Provider Council worked to educate elected officials about the negative impacts and unintended consequences of this legislation, which would place an undue burden on providers to meet the new wage without additional funds to do so.

The Provider Council requested that the county allocate a supplement to assist the provider community in complying with the new wage mandate and waged a vigorous campaign to inform and educate elected officials at the state and county levels with support from The Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS) who assisted throughout the campaign.

Representatives of member agencies met with the County Executive, County Council members, and their staff. In addition, testimony was presented at both the Executive and County Council budget hearings. Advocacy initiatives included rallying more than 200 people to a County Legislative hearing on a proposed bill which would have mandated the much-needed county supplement. Providers also organized a presence and testimony at numerous legislative and budget hearings, attended personal meetings with all County Council members and the County Executive, wrote hundreds of letters/emails, and placed phone calls to secure county funding.

Although the Provider Council received positive feedback on this campaign, no funding was allocated in the FY17 budget. Nevertheless, the Provider Council persevered. Members met with DDA to convey the effects of the county’s wage issue. The message was clear as member agencies sought to demonstrate the need for state and county support.

Meetings with various elected officials continued with the consistent message that adequate support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the Direct Support Staff who are the backbone of the provider system, was not only necessary but critical. As a result, in late spring 2017 Prince George’s County FY18 budget included an allocation of $3.5M to offset effects of the county minimum wage on the DD industry!

Of significant interest to councilmembers during this fiscal year was the work of the consulting group hired by the DDA to complete a reimbursement rate study for the DDA system. It will be crucial to keep a pulse on the rate study, as well as the multiple system changes occurring within DDA. As the Provider Council continues its efforts of advocacy with county elected officials, it has become clear that whatever success the Provider Council might have, the results of the rate study, and the implementation of any recommendations on a statewide level, will have considerable impact on the county’s response to providers’ need for financial support.

Available Annual Reports

Annual Report for FY 2019

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