Minutes — February 2018 Council Meeting


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mary Faithfull, DRTX
  • Sue Fielder, HHSC/Older Americans Act
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS/Maternal-Child Health
  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC/Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Dana Perry
  • Amy Sharp, TCDS
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Rick Tisch
  • Dana Williamson, HHSC/Medicaid
  • Dalun Zhang, A&M — CDD

Staff Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Ashley Ford
  • Robert Garcia
  • Linda Logan
  • Sylvia Medina
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Guests Present

  • Gina Matizzi-Fuller
  • Leanne McAleer
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Rona Statman
  • Tiffany Williams

Council Members Absent

  • Kristine Clark
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Ruth Mason
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Ron Roberts, TEA/IDEA
  • John Thomas

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, February 9, 2018, in the Hill Country C Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:11 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered to the Council.

  3. Consent Items
    Chair Durheim reviewed consent items including the minutes from the November 3, 2017, Council meeting and November 2, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Kristine Clark, Mateo Delgado, Ruth Mason, Brandon Pharris, John Thomas and program representatives from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Dana Williamson was introduced as the alternate representative from the Title XIX Medicaid program at Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). She is attending as a non-voting member since she has not completed orientation. Williamson provided a brief background of her position as Director of the Policy Development and Support Division at HHSC.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 3, 2017, Council meeting and November 2, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair & Executive Director’s Report
    Chair Durheim reported on the Executive Committee discussion on ways to respond to a recent visit from iTACC Director of Technical Assistance Sheryl Matney. TCDD staff met with Matney to review procedures for grant funding and monitoring, Request for Proposals (RFP) development, and Council member engagement in these processes. The Committee directed staff to implement suggested changes to these processes as well as propose suggestionsts to the peer review process of grant applications. It is hoped that an easier process for applicants will encourage new entities to apply for TCDD grants.

    Durheim also reminded members that as the election season gets underway, it provides an opportunity for members to get acquainted with legislators and candidates from their districts. Members should take advantage of chances to discuss issues and provide education on developmental disability issues.

    Executive Director Beth Stalvey provided updates on TCDD staff to note that Wendy Jones and Angie Rose resigned their positions as Grans Management Specialists. These two vacancies have been posted for applications until February 12, 2018.  Sylvia Medina has continued in her part-time, temporary position with grants management. Communications Intern Yazmeen Yahya has returned for a second semester. Vacancies in the Public Policy division have been submitted to the Human Resources division at TEA and will be posted for applications this quarter.

    Stalvey discussed 12 stipends that were awarded during the quarter, noting that there was a new event included in this list and that outreach continues to encourage new applicants.

    Stalvey also discussed Cross-Council Collaborative funding provided for disaster relief related to Hurricane Harvey. Requests are coming in for assistance that will allow applicants with development disabilities to transition from temporary housing to permanent housing and these are being processed through collaboration with the Arc of Texas. Partnerships with organizations such as FEMA are identifying individuals who can apply for assistance.

    TCDD is in the process of contracting with the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) to begin the first Community Outreach Coordination project.  UTRGV will provide assistance with community mapping and establish partnerships with local organizations including work in the colonias.

    Stalvey further discussed the visit with iTACC Director Matney who offered initial opinions and will provide final recommendations to streamline processes and reduce the burden of work on grantees and staff while still meeting requirements of the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act and other federal rules. Stalvey noted that Matney’s services are covered by our dues paid to the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) as part of the resources provided by that organization and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD).

    Stalvey reported that disproportionalities and disparities was not listed as a separate agenda item on this quarter’s agendas because the intent is to address these issues as part every discussion of the Council. Staff and Committee Chairs agreed that after having a focused discussion for several quarters, it would be reasonable to address disproportionalities and disparities as it relates to each item of the state plan.

    Stalvey discussed recent and upcoming events in which TCDD staff are participating. During the January session of Partners in Policymaking, Stalvey provided a presentation on setting a vision and was able to visit with the class participants. Stalvey also provided a presentation to the Aging and Disability Resource Center Advisory Committee on developmental disabilities and provided opening comments at the Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) Transportation Works Summit in Waco. Additional TCDD staff attended the SILC summit as well as the Arc of Texas Inclusion Works! conference. Stalvey is scheduled to provide a legislative update to the IDD Council of Tarrant County. Stalvey, Communications Director Joshua Ryf, and Public Policy Specialist Linda Logan have coordinated a day of continuing education for transition specialists with Northeast Independent School District in San Antonio which will include grantee presentations and participation from Texas Advocates in addition to their own presentations.

    Durheim notified members of the opportunities for participation in national conferences including the Disability Policy Seminar in April and the NACDD Annual Conference in July which will both be held in Washington, DC. Members who wish to attend should contact Durheim or Stalvey as soon as possible.

    Council member Rick Tisch commented on the benefits of the Council member work session that followed Thursday’s meetings. He encouraged other members to participate in different activities and gain education offered by the Council.

  5. Election of Council Vice-Chair
    Nominating Committee Chair Rick Tisch reported on the Committee meeting held by video-conference in January. Tisch and members David Taylor and Hunter Adkins reviewed the members who are eligible to serve as Council Vice-Chair and Self-Advocate Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee. He then contacted the recommended members to gain their willingness to serve. The Nominating Committee recommended John Thomas for a second term as Council Vice-Chair. No other nominations were offered from the floor.

    MOTION: To elect John Thomas as Council Vice-Chair
    MADE BY: Rick Tisch for the Nominating Committee. (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

  6. Election of Self-Advocate Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee
    Tisch reported on the Committee recommendation of Kimberly Blackmon as the Self-Advocate Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee. He also acknowledged Michael Peace for serving three consecutive terms in this position and thanked him for his contributions. No other nominations were offered from the floor.

    MOTION: To elect Kimberly Blackmon as the Self-Advocate Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee.
    MADE BY: Rick Tisch for the Nominating Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

  7. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez reported on Committee discussion of future grant activities to implement the state plan. The first executive summary discussed was First Responder Training. Recognizing that first responders often lack experience and knowledge in their interactions with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this project would conduct statewide research on existing resources and opportunities to partner with other organizations, as well as obtain input from stakeholders on their interactions with first responders. This information may aid in the development of future state plan projects.

    MOTION: To approve funding of up to $50,000 for up to 18 months to conduct a research project on the need for training of first responders in their interactions with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously. (February 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 8)

    Cortez then reported on discussions of the executive summary for Health and Wellness projects. This grant opportunity would create a long-term impact that benefits people with developmental disabilities by improving and/or maintaining their health and wellness and could include projects that promote policy change, stakeholder education, and/or partnerships to strengthen community capacity to health-related services and supports.

    MOTION: To approve up to $200,000 per project, per year, for up to five years, for up to two projects on health and wellness for people with developmental disabilities.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously. (February 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 8)

    Cortez next discussed the Future Funding Priorities document and noted that the Project Development Committee recommends the priorities as listed below.

    MOTION: To prioritize TCDD projects approved for funding in the following order:

    1. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Projects
    2. Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who are Aging and Their Caregivers
    3. Next Chapter Book Club
    4. Health and Wellness
    5. First Responder Training
    6. Community Outreach Coordination Project (Second project)

    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously. (February 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 9)

  8. Communications and Marketing Activities Report
    • Communications Director Joshua Ryf reported on campaigns and outreach on the following topics:
    • NACDD Annual Conference – encouraging Texas organizations and grantees to submit presentation proposals.
    • Texas Legislature Interim Charges – information about seven charges that have been identified as having potential impact on people with disabilities
    • TCDD RFPs
    • Texas Medicaid Stories – 95 responses received at close of campaign
    • Become a Council Member – continued interest
    • Advocacy Opportunities and Legislative Hearings
    • TCDD Job Postings
    • Ryf discussed recent grantee events including leadership and advocacy training held by Easter Seals in McAllen and the Texas SILC Accessible Transportation summit. He also noted that the TCDD website now allows grant projects to be sorted by counties served and that Council Member Frequently Asked Questions have been posted.
  9. Executive Committee Report
    Chair Durheim reported that no continuation grant funding was awarded this quarter. She further reported that new grant funding was awarded to West Central Texas Regional Foundation and Texas SILC for Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas. New grant funding was also awarded for Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions to Texas Advocates, Project Amistad, and Texas SILC. One translation stipend, eight event stipends and three speaker stipends were awarded this quarter.

    Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reviewed the Grants Risk Assessment and Independent Audit Status Report and reported no concerns. Imagine Arts is in contract negotiations for the work-plan and budget for the Peer Support Specialists for Community-Based Person Centered Planning project.

    Operations Director Cantu reviewed the quarterly financial reports including the operating expenses and summary of project funds. She reviewed the Operating Expenses to note that 20% of funds have been expended with three months of the fiscal year passed. Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for FY 2016 – 2019. All funds for FY 2016 have been assigned and $175,598 of FY 2017 funds remains to be assigned to grantees prior to September 30, 2018. Although the report shows a negative balance for FY 2018 funds, this is expected to become level due to unspent funds from current grant projects, delayed starts of new projects and funding assigned to RFPs which may not eventually be completely obligated. The Executive Committee members did not express any concerns with the agency financial reports.

    The Committee reviewed Conflict of Interest disclosures and no concerns were noted.

  10. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported that the Committee discussed the National Public Radio series “Abused and Betrayed” on sexual violence against individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Committee expressed interest in addressing this issue and directed staff to bring information for further discussion. Planning Director Joanna Cordry discussed input from self-advocates that expressed the desire for sexual education separate from issues of violence, and presented from different perspectives such as parent education or peer-to-peer discussions on sex, dating, and marriage. Council members discussed a variety of resources and potential partner organizations that are available and staff will explore these options for a future presentation on this topic.

  11. Public Policy Committee Report
    Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor reported on the Committee discussion of terms that were important to individuals in the policy work. They also reviewed various advocacy activities and discussed which were appropriate and which ventured into the territory of lobbying and are therefore not permitted by Council members.

    Taylor noted that the Committee would like TCDD to partner with other organizations in its advocacy efforts. Suggestions include an invitation to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities to discuss shared goals, hosting a policy fellow academy, and contacting legislative offices to inquire about disability issues that are brought to them by others.

    Taylor also reported that the Committee discussed the outcomes of TCDD projects and how evidence-based solutions and results of projects can be used in advocacy efforts. The Committee directed staff to develop an executive summary for a contract that would compile information and outcomes of all former TCDD grant projects.

    The Committee discussed the TEA Corrective Action Plan for Special Education that is to be submitted to the United States Department of Education. Public comments are being accepted through the TEA website and members requested a link to this be sent after the meeting.

  12. TCDD Policy Fellows Introduction
    Executive Director Stalvey briefly reviewed the intent of the Public Policy Fellows projects. She noted that two projects have completed, one is at its mid-point and three have recently begun. The current fellows were invited to attend the meeting and introduce themselves and speak to their current or planned work. Two were present to provide this information and two will present at future dates.

    Alexandra Noble is the current fellow at EveryChild Inc. She is in her second year of the program with a focus on children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are in the foster care system. She is a graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Noble’s background includes work in the Peace Corp where she was stationed in Moldova and first worked with children with disabilities including inclusion activities and integration into the school system.

    Tiffany Williams has just begun her fellowship at the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and is mentored by former fellow Chris Masey. She has a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Houston and has a great deal of experience with victims of human trafficking. She served as a staff person in the 85th Texas Legislature in Representative Garnet Coleman’s office handling a variety of constituent issues but with a focus on mental health. Williams’ focus of her fellowship will be on youth with developmental disabilities who have experience trauma and/or mental health issues. She reported that children with I/DD are three times more likely than children without disabilities to experience trauma and she hopes to continue working in this field at the end of her fellowship.

  13. State Agency Representatives Quarterly Activities Report
    The Council received a presentation on Community Supports provided through Health and Human Services Office of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Sue Fielder, AAA Director and alternate representative to the Council from the Older Americans Act program, explained the Aging Network which begins in the federal Administration on Community Living, designates HHSC as the State Unit on Aging, and provides services through the regional AAA offices. To receive services, recipients must be 60 years of age or older or a caregiver for someone who is over 60. Services include: care coordination; caregiver support or respite; benefits counseling; information, referral or assistance; health and wellness; congregate meals; home delivered meals; and transportation.

    Disability Rights Texas (DRT) representative Mary Faithfull reported that the agency was in the process of setting priorities and this includes evaluating surveys which are still available for input.

    Texas Center for Disability Services (TCDS) representative Amy Sharp reported they are hosting multiple state meetings that impact people with disabilities and a list can be found on their website.

    A&M CDD representative Dalun Zhang discussed the upcoming Texas Transition Conference in Houston.

    HHSC/Title XIX/Medicaid Services alternate representative Dana Williamson reported on vacancies on the IDD System Redesign Committee and the Medical Care Advisory Committee which provides opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities or their family members to be involved on these committees.

    Texas Workforce Commission/Rehabilitation Act representative Jennifer Kaut discussed plans for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation.

    Department of State Health Services (DSHS)/Title V/Maternal Child Health alternate representative Ivy Goldstein reported on two interns in their office who are focusing on projects related to community inclusion and healthcare inclusion.

  14. Announcements and Updates
    Council member Kristen Cox presented a short video for a documentary that is being produced about her son, Kyle. It chronicles a road trip organized by his friends during the summer of 2017. Council members discussed dates and locations of future meetings of May 2-4, 2018, August 1-3, 2018, November 7-9, 2018 and February 6-8, 2019.


Chair Durheim adjourned the meeting at 11:42 AM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council