Document Type

Practice Guidelines


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Demography, Population, and Ecology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


In earlier research (Centers for Independent Living: Rural and Urban Distribution of Centers for Independent Living, 1999), we reported on five major models of Center for Independent Living (CIL) service provision, including “standard CILs,” “satellites,” “branch offices,” “outreach offices,” and others. These “other” approaches reflect a variety of the strategies CILs use to provide services and supports in rural and remote areas. How to provide rural IL services is an important question, since about 40 percent of U.S. counties – mostly rural – lack access to CILs. Further, the goal of achieving universal access is still elusive, despite the efforts of organizations such as the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to increase funding and the number of centers. “Rural outreach” fills a demand for community disability services and supports. Identifying needs and building local support are the first steps. Accordingly, the various models are likely to start with community education and move toward developing permanent programs or offices later. Usually, outreach efforts start with broad public education and discussions with any other local service providers to identify individuals interested in and potentially needing IL supports. After identification, meetings are arranged with interested individuals. In planning rural outreach models, CILs should consider their goals: Do they want to provide individual services, to promote community and systems change, or to accomplish both? We have identified fifteen rural outreach models for providing IL services and supports, and have listed them in the following table which briefly describes each model. Other resources related to rural outreach models are listed on page four.


community participation and independent living, independent living, rural, disability


© 2009, RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


This research is supported by Grant #H133B70017-01 from the National Institute on Disabilityand Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Project Number