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Strategic Planning

The department’s strategic planning sets the overall direction for the development of programs through a multi-year period for persons with autism, intellectual and related disabilities, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries in South Carolina. Planning is guided by direction from the Governor and the General Assembly, and by our customers’ needs and preferences and how they want to be served. It also reflects the department’s responsiveness to national trends, to advocates who promote state-of-the-art services, to service providers and to citizens who require sound stewardship of their tax dollars. This provides a framework to guide agency policy and actions in terms of how to organize, fund and evaluate outcomes of services.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are identified by senior staff through the director’s leadership and guidance. Input from DDSN’s regional centers and the local DSN boards and private qualified providers is integral to the process. Regular meetings are held with key regional center staff to remain informed of performance activities and needs at each center. These meetings provide input into various resource needs such as staffing, operating budget, permanent improvement needs and quality of consumer care. DDSN's statewide network of community providers gives input through several functional committees made up of leadership from the DSN boards, private providers and key DDSN staff. The committees provide input and direction on numerous items ranging from contractual compliance to quality of services. Each Center and board conducts a facility assessment which outlines renovations, construction, or change in use of specific buildings in order to provide adequate and appropriate facilities to meet individual needs in a high quality setting. To determine services needed over a multi-year period, a review is done of current programs and services, the number of individuals served, underserved and waiting for services, and the new resources needed to meet the need.

A Consumer, Family and Advocate Advisory Committee is heavily involved in discussions about service delivery and provides input and suggestions for improvement. This group is a representative sample of the service population and service need areas across the state.

Cross-functional committees which include stakeholders are utilized in the development of agency-wide plans and strategies. When changes are being proposed which impact the way services are provided or funded, taskforces or special stakeholder groups are utilized to ensure that all levels of the organization are represented.  A broad range of individuals serve on these taskforces in order to obtain a full understanding of the issues involved.

Specific financial risks, state and federal requirements and regulated initiatives are anticipated whenever possible and incorporated into planning. Workforce resources are directed to meet the priorities of the agency.  Information technology is maximized for data collection, process management and systems analysis.

The strategic planning process includes a multi-year analysis of operating budget needs and permanent improvement needs. These multi-year analyses encompass historical trends, regional center evaluations, key regional staff input, local community provider and consumer input.  Once the analysis is refined, the department prepares its annual budget request for the Governor and General Assembly that includes both recurring and non-recurring items. Capital needs are stated in the Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plan (CPIP), which is submitted to the Joint Bond Review Committee and the Budget and Control Board.

The planning process used to carry out the agency’s mission is a continuous process. It is primarily concerned with developing organizational objectives, forecasting the environment in which objectives are to be accomplished and determining the best approach in which they are to be accomplished. Successful planning requires an analysis of data from the past, decisions in the present, and an evaluation of the future.