The purpose of this guide is to provide information about maintaining a Center for Independent Living (CIL). The information provided should help provide the Centers with technical support for the planning, operation, conduct, administration and evaluation of a Center for Independent Living. You should seek appropriate expertise in all areas mentioned in this manual.
It is important for the centers to maintain a clear understanding of the independent living philosophy and committed to devoting time to maintaining a quality CIL. Many groups and organizations use the term“independent living”, thus, it is important to understand Independent Living philosophy according to Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as follows:
“Philosophy of Independent Living includes consumer control, peer support, self-help,
self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize
the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with significant
disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with significant disabilities
into the mainstream of American society.”
Training and consultations from an organization that promotes the independent living philosophy can be helpful. The Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (MVR), the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) or the Missouri Centers for Independent Living are resources that can help in understanding the Independent Living Philosophy.
Board of Directors
The importance of a Board of Directors cannot be overstated. They are the governing body of the not for profit organization. This section outlines important aspects of the board of directors and things to consider in the development of the board. Centers that have taken the time to pick and train qualified people to sit on the board have a higher success rate and prove to be more productive in achieving the goals and mission of the center. It is important that a CIL board have representation from the entire service catchment area. In addition, 51% of the members of the CIL board are required by federal and state law to be people with disabilities.
There are legal requirements of the general not for profit law as well as state and federal law that your board will have to adhere to. Some of these have been outlined in this manual. However, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to make sure they have addressed all legal requirements pertaining to the Center and the Board of Directors.
Characteristics of an Effective Board (pdf)
Board Training (pdf)
Board Activities (pdf)
Board Legal Responsibilities (pdf)
Financial Oversight (pdf)
Board Member Liability (pdf)
Board Committees (pdf)
President Job Description (pdf)
Vice-President Job Description (pdf)
Treasurer Job Description (pdf)
Secretary Job Description (pdf)
Member Job Description (pdf)
Standards of Conduct for Board Members (pdf)
Board Recruitment (pdf)
Board of Directors Composite Table (pdf)
Bylaws are a legally binding set of rules which are adopted to govern and manage the affairs of the CIL. The bylaws are written by the CIL’s not for profit incorporators or the Board of Directors and should comply with state law as noted in the Missouri Nonprofit Corporation Act found in the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) Chapter 355.
The following information should be included in the bylaws of the Center. However, this list is not intended to be all-inclusive. The Board of Directors should seek advice from persons with expertise in this area.
Important: Whenever Bylaws are updated, the date that they are approved by the Board of Directors shall noted on the document.
- The number of members on the Board of Directors.
- The number of members of the Board of Directors required to be present in order to conduct official business or “quorum”.
- The length of the terms of all members of the Board of Directors, and the terms of each office.
- The process for electing the new members to the Board of Directors.
This section includes an outline and an example of a set of bylaws, but the Center’s Board of Directors should review Chapter 355, RSMo and Section 355.116, RSMo and make sure the Center’s bylaws conform to state law.
Section 178.654, RSMo mandates that MVR staff will visit 7 CIL’s annually to conduct monitoring activities. MVR staff will review case services records, evidence of the services provided as reported on the quarterly service reports and all other administrative documents. MVR staff will also review the CIL’s financial records and compliance with their grant.
Some of the items reviewed are:
- All grants funded through the Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation
- Any documentation of formal Board of Director’s/Staff training
- Minutes of the Board of Director’s meetings for the last twelve months
- Minutes/notes of staff meetings for the twelve month
- Monthly statistical reports
- Internal Revenue Services Form 990
- Certification and Articles of Incorporation (By-laws) – 501(c)(3)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Review File and/or Plan
- Policy and Procedure Manuals
- State and Federal Standards and Assurances
- Case Service Records
- Independent Living Services provided
- Financial Records
Interviews will be conducted with staff, consumers, and board members in addition to the above.
IL Audit Parameters (pdf)
The State and Federal standards mandate that 51% of the CIL staff and Board of Directors be people with disabilities in decision making positions. CILs will usually have an Executive Director, Independent Living Specialist, and Office Manager or Bookkeeper. It is important not to underbudget for these positions in order to obtain qualified people.
This section includes sample job descriptions to review to assist the CIL during the search for qualified personnel.
Also included in this section are guidelines for interviewing. It is important to review these before beginning the interviewing process.
Executive Director (pdf)
Executive Director Role (pdf)
Office Manager (pdf)
Program Manager (pdf)
Disability Advocate (pdf)
Access Specialist (pdf)
Assistive Technology Coordinator (pdf)
Assistive Technology Specialist (pdf)
CIL Insurance Coverage (pdf)
The CIL will be required to provide the following documentation as part of the Independent Living Grant application process: