About National Core Indicators

For information on National Core Indicators – Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD)®, see https://nci-ad.org/. For further information, here is a comparison overview of NCI and NCI-AD. 

Here is a brief video introduction to National Core Indicators® (NCI-IDD®

Here is a brief, printable, one-page description of National Core Indicators® (NCI-IDD®) 

Here is a list of the principles on which NCI-IDD was founded.

National Core Indicators® (NCI®) is a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI).  The purpose of the program, which began in 1997, is to support NASDDDS member agencies to gather a standard set of performance and outcome measures that can be used to track their own performance over time, to compare results across states, and to establish national benchmarks.

Fifteen states initially stepped forward to work on the Core Indicators Project, as it was originally known, and pooled their resources to develop valid and reliable data collection protocols.  Over time, NCI has grown to become an integral piece of over half the states' quality management systems and aligns with basic requirements for assuring quality in HCBS waivers.  NCI is a voluntary activity and primarily state-funded.  From 2011-2016, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) will contribute grant funding to support the expansion of the program to an additional five states per year. The NASDDDS Research Committee oversees the activities and guides the direction of the program.  NASDDDS and HSRI staff provide technical assistance to states through consultation, training, project communications, data management and analysis, and dissemination of reports and results.

The NCI program is also recognized as a uniquely valuable source of information about individuals with developmental disabilities receiving services across a large sample of states.  The NCI database includes randomly-selected representative samples by state, with 39 states planning to contribute data this year.  Efforts to analyze the mulit-state datasets have been supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).  Results of these analyses have been published in both national and international peer-reviewed journals and presented at research conferences around the world.   The Adult Consumer Survey tool has been adapted and administered in other countries, including England and Australia.

NCI Surveys:

In-Person Survey

The In-Person Survey (IPS) is a face to face conversation completed with a minimum of 400 individuals who are 18 years of age or older and receiving at least one paid service from the state (in addition to case management). Before the survey, Background Information is collected using administrative records, and often with additional information collected from service coordinators / case managers. Background Information includes data such as demographics, personal characteristics, health data and data on employment status and wages. 

The face-to face portion of the IPS is conducted in person with the person receiving services; Section I can only be answered by the individual. No proxy responses are permitted. Section II may be completed by a proxy if the interviewer determines the individual receiving services cannot answer for him or herself.  

Family Surveys:

The Adult Family Survey (AFS) is mailed to families who have an adult family member (age 18 and over) with I/DD living in their family's home.  The family member with I/DD must be receiving at least one service from the state DD agency, in addition to case management. 

The Family/Guardian Survey (FGS) is mailed to family members or guardians of an adult (age 18 and over) with I/DD living outside of the family home.The family member with I/DD must be receiving at least one service from the state DD agency, in addition to case management. 

The Child Family Survey (CFS) is mailed to families who have a child (under age 18) with I/DD living in the family home. The family member with I/DD must be receiving at least one service from the state DD agency, in addition to case management. 

Staff Stability:

The Staff Stability Survey is an on-line survey of provider agencies supporting adults with ID/DD in residential, employment, day services and other in-home or community inclusion programs.  The survey captures information about wages, benefits, and turnover of the direct care professional workforce, hired by agencies.

Agencies receive the survey through an email invitation (address provided by State) and agencies respond directly into ODESA.

This tool is not used for provider-level assessment as the data are de-identified and are reported aggregated at the state level.


For more information on the surveys, please see our most recent reports