R-5, Center for Independent Living Services and Their Effect on Community Participation: Measuring CIL Services

Measuring Center for Independent Living (CIL) Services to Improve Consumer Community Participation

The Bottom Line

This project develops and tests a measurement tool for community participation. This tool will provide centers for independent living (CILs), which serve people with disabilities, with a scientific method for measuring the effectiveness of their services. With the information provided by this new tool, CILs may enhance their services, modify staff training, and tailor programs to help their consumers participate more fully in the community.

By developing and testing community participation measurement, this project provides centers for independent a scientific way to measure the effectiveness of their service provision systems.


The federal government funds centers for independent living (CILs) to provide four core services for people with disabilities. These services are peer counseling, information and referral, independent living (IL) skills training, and advocacy. More recently, deinstitutionalization is emerging as a fifth core service.

There has been little or no empirical evidence that shows how center services affect the community participation of their consumers.


In this study, we are surveying national consumer organizations and consumers with disabilities to identify exemplary practices for increasing community participation of people with disabilities.

The study also identifies characteristics of CILs that emphasize consumer participation in the community and CILs that do not.

CIL Participation Services Survey 

The study uses a survey to construct a measure of CIL services and how they are delivered. We are interested in how CIL staff members and board members view the services offered by their organization and their ability to help consumers more fully participate in the community. They rank the importance of the services and their satisfaction with them.

This is the survey that was sent to Centers for Independent Living across the country to identify exemplary practices for increasing community participation of people with disabilities. Data from the survey will help create a measure for the effectiveness of CIL service delivery.

The second phase of the project surveys consumers for their perspectives to refine the measurement tool. In addition, a comparative study has been conducted in Japan and South Korea.

Consumer Empowered Team

These consumers and independent living experts helped shape our research procedures and products.

• Jason Beloungy, Independent Living Resources, La Crosse, WI 

• Peggy Cosner andTom Elmore, Heart of Central Texas ILC, Belton

• Ann Ford, Illinois Network for Centers for Independent Living, Springfield

• Rahnee Patrick, Access Living Chicago

• Virginia Harris and Julie Harrell, BAIN, Inc. Center for Independent Living, Bainbridge, GA

 Roger Frischenmeyer, Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Hutchinson, KS

R5: CIL Services Effect on Community Participation Fact Sheet

For more information, contact Glen White, glen@ku.edu; Craig Ravesloot, craig.ravesloot@mso.umt.edu; or the Research and Training Center on Measurement and Interdependence in Community Living at the RTC/IL, 4089 Dole, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, Phone: 785-864-4095 (voice), 785-864-0706 (TTY)RTCIL@ku.edu 

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research grant H133B060018