Supported Decision-Making New York (SDMNY) is a 5-year project funded by the New York State Developmental Disability Planning Council (DDPC) to educate a wide variety of stakeholders about supported decision making (SDM) and, through two pilot projects, to demonstrate how SDM can be used as an alternative to guardianship for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD).

SDMNY is based on the belief that all persons have the right to make their own decisions and to the supports that make that possible (Our Approach). SDMNY is made up of four partner organizations (Our Partners), has a staff that is located at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City (Our Staff), an impressive Advisory Council representing a wide variety of stakeholders and stakeholder organizations (Our Advisors),  and is collaborating with relevant institutions and organizations to promote the use of SDM (Our Collaborators).

Our Approach:

We believe that every person has the right to make his or her own decisions, regardless of disability, and to have those decisions legally recognized. This belief is reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that posits legal capacity as a “human right,”

We understand that no one makes decisions entirely in a vacuum, that we all engage in some kind of supported decision-making, and that people with intellectual disabilities may simply need more, or different kinds of supports in order to make their decisions.

We have observed the work of pilot programs around the world that demonstrate how supported decision-making can advance legal capacity even for persons with severe intellectual impairments. We are inspired by their successes, and seek to make supported decision-making a viable alternative to guardianship, which removes legal capacity, and denies those who are subject to it, their legal and civil rights.