Notice of Funds Available (RFP)

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

2018-8  Statewide Community Services Peer Support Specialists


Posted Applications Due Start Date End Date Amount MatchPoverty Match Council Staff
May 31, 2018 Sep 07, 2018 Jan 01, 2019 Dec 31, 2022 $100,000.00 $33,333.00$11,111.00 Danny Fikac


TCDD has approved funding for one project that will develop and pilot a peer supports training program for individuals who use Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which includes Community Based Alternatives (CBA), Community Living Assistance & Support Services (CLASS), Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD), Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP), Texas Home Living (TxHmL), Home and Community-based Services (HCS); and Community First Choice (CFC). The program should be able to be used statewide.

TCDD may award a maximum of $100,000 for year one and a maximum of up to $125,000 per year for years two, three and four. TCDD will negotiate the budget as needed and may choose not to award funding for these projects.

TCDD does not plan to provide funding for these projects beyond four years. TCDD does not automatically continue funding each year and may terminate funds prior to the end date in this RFP.

If you have questions after reading this RFP, contact Danny Fikac, Planning Specialist, at or at 512-437-5415.

Who May Apply

Any organization that meets the requirements set forth in this RFP can apply. Types of organizations could include:

  • government agencies,
  • nonprofits,
  • colleges and universities,
  • faith-based institutions,
  • technical and/or professional schools, and
  • for profit businesses.
The organization that applies for this grant must administer the grant and receive, disburse and account for grant funds.

Individuals may not apply for this grant.

Important Dates

Informational Conference Call: August 13, 2018

TCDD will hold an informational conference call to provide more information about TCDD's processes for proposal review and grant award. You are not required to attend in order to apply.

The informational conference call will be held: August 13, 2018 at 12:30 PM CST. To participate:

  • Phone number: 1-877-820-7831
  • Participant passcode: 649944#

Deadline to Submit Questions: August 16, 2018

Submit all questions about the RFP or application to by 5:00 PM Central Time on August 16, 2018. TCDD will not answer questions about the RFP or application after that date and time. TCDD will post questions and answers on DD Suite as an attachment to this RFP by 5:00 PM Central Time August 20, 2018.

Deadline to Submit a Proposal: September 7, 2018

Proposals must be received by 5 PM Central Time on September 7, 2018. TCDD does not consider late applications under any circumstances, including user error. If you have questions about DD Suite and cannot find answers in the DD Suite Guide attached to this RFP, email Danny.Fikac@TCDD.Texas.Gov or call 512-437-5415. This should be done as early in the process as possible.

Award Notification: December 3, 2018

TCDD will notify proposers about funding decisions by December 3, 2018.

How to Apply

To have your application considered, complete the steps listed below by the due date. Applications and all associated documents must be submitted via DD Suite. Documents received by fax, email, hand delivery, or mail will not be accepted. Applications that do not include the items listed below, or that include incomplete items, will not be considered.

  1. Complete all required sections of the application in DD Suite.
  2. Complete all sections of the Supplemental Forms packet and the workplan. The Supplemental Forms packet and the workplan document are attached to this RFP. This information will include all sections of the budget and all sections of the budget justification. The budget justification section must be detailed enough to show how calculations were made. Any zeros in the Fringe Benefits Section must be explained in the budget justification.
  3. Upload the Supplemental Forms packet and the workplan. Upload the Supplemental Forms packet, the workplan, and other required documents to DD Suite as attachments to your proposal by the due date.
  4. Upload Letters of Support. If you have Letters of Support or letters from other entities or individuals that state they will partner with you on the project, upload them to DD Suite as an attachment to your application.
  5. Submit all attachments through DD Suite by the due date and time.


The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services released new Medicaid Home and Community Based Services settings rules in 2014. The rules require that:

  • providers take full advantage of opportunities for people to have access to the benefits of community living and to receive services in the most integrated setting
  • Medicaid funding and policy support strategies meet obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999)
  • service plans are developed through a person‐centered planning process
  • individuals with developmental disabilities receive information and support to lead the process and make informed choices

People who have not been fully integrated in their communities may find it hard to imagine the opportunities they have. Peers who have the experience of independent living can assist them to see what is possible, to identify both opportunities and barriers to achieving their goals, and help them to successfully address barriers. A peer can also provide objective encouragement, guidance, listening, teaching, suggestions, and a bridge to community. The Medicaid/CHIP Division of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) recognizes the benefits of peer supports and has expressed interest in both promoting peer supports and partnering in the development and implementation of the training program developed through this project.

TCDD has funded peer to peer support projects in the past. This project would be similar in some ways, but would focus specifically on connecting persons with developmental disabilities who are receiving HCBS waiver services (including CBA, CLASS, DBMD, MDCP, HCS, TXHmL, CFC) that require a person‐centered service plan with well‐informed peers who can support them to take control of their plans. Other Councils on Developmental Disabilities could provide information and technical assistance to an organization developing a training in Texas:

  • The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities is building a peer to peer mentor project to link one peer who provides supports with two peers who receive supports. The training has components we would want to see in a Texas peer to peer supports project: Basic mentoring skills, Medicaid Services, tools like a “My Story Worksheet” and others.
  • The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities funded a one year youth peer mentoring pilot. Peer mentors were required to mentor a peer for at least one year. The mentoring included weekly contact with the person they were mentoring by phone, e‐mail or in person, and attending social events together. Both people kept a journal of their successes and challenges. TCDD has the training material from this project.
  • The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council provides an annual Peer Mentoring 101 workshop for the purpose of training people with developmental disabilities to become effective peer mentors to others with developmental disabilities. Peer Mentoring is a Medicaid covered service in Michigan when it is written in an individual’s plan of service.

Definitions for the purposes of this project

Peer Support Specialists are individuals who:

  • have a developmental disability;
  • live in the community;
  • have used or are currently using publicly funded services and supports, such as: SSI, publicly‐funded housing, Medicaid waiver services, work incentives and supported employment;
  • have received training to provide certain types of supports to peers.

Coaches are individuals who:

  • may or may not have a developmental disability;
  • provide emotional support, information, and direct assistance to the Peer Support Specialists to develop specific action plans and identify the resources needed.

Peer Support Specialists and Coaches must demonstrate respect for an individual’s rights and honor the individual’s culture and beliefs, even if that individual makes choices they might not make.

Project Description and Milestones

The grant project will develop and pilot a peer supports training program for individuals who use CBA, CLASS, DBMD, MDCP, HCS, TXHmL, or CFC so they understand their options and can lead their own person centered planning process. The training program developed must be one that can be replicated by organizations and agencies across the state.

The project will specifically focus on developing a model that connects people with developmental disabilities who receive these waiver services with well-informed peers who can support them to take control of their plans and ensure that the implementation of the plan includes the needed services and supports.

Your project must:

  • Conduct outreach to identify and support a diverse group of individuals with developmental disabilities to participate in the development of job descriptions and training curriculum (the curriculum must be approved by TCDD);
  • Develop the training curriculum for peer support specialist and coaches (TCDD must approve the curriculum);
  • Build relationships with waiver participants, providers and service coordinators, state agency program staff, local authorities, managed care organizations and legally authorized representatives;
  • Pay peer support specialists, arrange and maximize the use of available supports required for them to meet their duties, and make sure that employment supports are in place to lessen the risk of losing benefits as a result of earned income;
  • Collaborate with TCDD and HHSC on program design, implementation, and policies and procedures as needed;
  • Use information gained through evaluation to improve the training.
  • Develop a plan to ensure that policies and procedures associated with current programs and billing guidelines include peer supports as a service option; and
  • Capture stories from coaches, peer support specialists, and people receiving peer supports and share these stories with TCDD.

  • Outputs and Outcomes

    TCDD expects your project to develop and pilot a training curriculum for peer support specialists and coaches that can be use statewide; train at least 20 individuals with developmental disabilities by the end of the grant to become Peer Support Specialists; and ensure that each Peer Support Specialist assists at least 10 people with developmental disabilities each year. The 10 people receiving support each year may include new individuals and/or previous participants.

    At a minimum, the peer support specialist training must include:

    • Important aspects of service planning process;
    • Mentoring skills;
    • Medicaid acute and long-term care services;
    • Basic employment supports;
    • Options for deeply affordable housing and rental supports that may be available through local public housing or MH/IDD authorities;
    • Formal and informal services and supports that foster self-determination and independence;
    • Benefits of Consumer Directed Services;
    • Person-centered thinking; and
    • Person-centered planning.

    The grantee should also:

    • Prepare a training manual and share the information at statewide conferences,
    • Provide information to TCDD about relevant policy issues,
    • Provide TCDD at least one story a year from a person who benefitted from the project,
    • Provide TCDD information to help TCDD better understand and address the experiences of diverse groups of people who are unserved and underserved (including, but not limited to, people of color, people living in rural areas, people for whom English is a second language, and people living in poverty).


    Grantees must provide a matching contribution each year. This may include:

    • funding from non-federal sources,
    • volunteer hours, or
    • other "in- kind" donations, such as office space and utilities.

    Other federal funds may not be used as match. Items or funds that are used for match for another federally-funded project may not be used as match. TCDD prefers that the amount of match increase each year of the project.

    Match Amount: The front page of this RFP provides the amount of match expected for non-poverty areas and for poverty areas if you request the full amount. Requesting less than the full amount will reduce the amount of match you must provide.

    Poverty counties are counties in which at least 20 percent of the people in the county live in poverty. The attachments to this RFP includes a list of counties that has poverty counties highlighted.

    • Non-poverty areas: Project activities located in counties not designated as federal poverty areas require matching resources equal to at least 25 percent of total project costs.
    • Poverty areas: Project activities located in counties designated as federal poverty counties require matching resources equal to at least 10 percent of the total project costs.

    • The Review Process

      Your proposal will be reviewed based only on what is in your:

      • application,
      • supplemental forms,
      • workplan,
      • other required attachments, and
      • optional letters of support and/or letters from organizations committing to partnering with you.

      You will not have the opportunity to provide additional information or to clarify questions about your proposal.

      Evaluation criteria include, but are not limited to:

      • program quality,
      • costs,
      • financial ability to perform services,
      • regional needs and priorities,
      • improved access for underserved and unserved areas and/or groups of individuals,
      • ability to continue services at the conclusion of grant funding, and
      • past performance and compliance with previous grant awards.

      Step 1: Staff Review

      TCDD staff review proposals upon submission for compliance with the requirements of the RFP and ensure that all sections are complete. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the requirements of the RFP will be disqualified.

      Step 2: Independent Review Panel Review

      Proposals that meet the initial requirements will be reviewed by an Independent Review Panel consisting of three to five people with expertise related to the RFP. The panel’s review focuses on the quality of the proposed plan, the feasibility of completing the plan, and how well the proposed project may move TCDD closer to meeting the TCDD State Plan Goals and Objectives. The panel will consider only the information specifically allowed by the RFP and the application instructions. The panel also considers only the information included in the submitted proposal.

      Step 3: Executive Committee Review and Decision

      The TCDD Executive Committee reviews the above information and makes the final funding decisions. If you have received a grant in the last five years, staff document your performance on that project and provide that to the Executive Committee.

      TCDD may give priority to proposals that address the needs of people who are unserved or underserved. This may include, but is not limited to:

      • people living in rural areas,
      • people living in poverty,
      • people of color, and
      • people with limited English proficiency.

      Continuation Funding

      Organizations that are awarded funding must submit continuation funding proposals each year. Continuation funding will not exceed the maximum per-year funding amount stated in the RFP.

      Continuation funding is based on:

      • the project's accomplishments,
      • progress towards stated goals and objectives,
      • financial management of funds,
      • compliance with reporting requirements,
      • review of the most recent program audit,
      • review of findings of TCDD's onsite reviews,
      • development of alternative funding, and
      • the availability of TCDD funds.

      Continuation funding is not automatic and TCDD may choose not to award continuation grants. Continuation proposals are generally due approximately three months before the end of the grant year.

      Expectations of All Grantees

      Reporting: Grantees must submit progress reports and financial documents, including reimbursement requests, at least quarterly. Grantees must also provide required evaluation data, annual continuation proposals, and a final report. Failure to meet reporting and spending requirements may impact continuation or future grant awards.

      Continuation proposals: Grantees may be asked to provide information about public policy implications and sustainability in their continuation proposal.

      Advisory committee: Grantees may be asked to develop an advisory committee.

      TCDD support: TCDD will serve as a resource to support grantees to be successful throughout their project. Throughout the project period, grantees may be asked to participate in grants management training as needed. Grantees may also expect calls from TCDD staff about outcome and performance measures, public policy issues that relate to your project, products produced, and project events (if applicable). Grantees may be asked to present their progress at quarterly Council meetings. TCDD may share opportunities for grantees to present at state and/or national conferences.


      Applicants must agree to the following terms:

      • Applicants must disclose any conflicts of interest between themselves and TCDD Council members, employees, or their immediate families.
      • Applicants must use People First Language or Identity-First Language (where appropriate) in all materials.
      • All printed materials must be available in Spanish and in an appropriate accessible format — including digital, tagged PDF, or large print. Funding for this should be included in the budget.
      • Videos, DVDs and teleconferencing and distance learning activities produced by this project must be fully accessible. Any videos or DVDs must be captioned.
      • TCDD will retain the rights to all products created using funding awarded through this RFP. The grantee will retain rights to materials that were created prior to receiving the grant and the rights to materials created without using funds that are associated with this project.
      • Proposals received by TCDD are subject to release consistent with provisions of the Texas Public Information Act.

      See "Assurances" in the attached Supplemental Forms for all terms relating to this grant.