Minutes — August 2018 Project Development Committee Meeting


  1. Committee Members Present
  2. Gladys Cortez, Chair
  3. Lisa Akers-Owsen, HHSC
  4. Paula Brunson, TWC
  5. Andrew Crim
  6. Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  7. Mateo Delgado
  8. Katlyn Le, DSHS
  9. Scott McAvoy
  10. John Thomas
  11. Justin Porter, TEA
  12. Rick Tisch
  1. Staff Present
  2. Martha Cantu
  3. Joanna Cordry
  4. Robert Garcia
  5. Fernando Rodriguez
  1. Committee Members Absent
  2. Kimberly Blackmon
  3. Kristine Clark
  4. Dana Perry

Call to Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, August 2, 2018, at the Crowne Plaza – Austin Central, 6121 North IH-35, Austin, Texas 78752. Committee Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 1:27 PM. A quorum was present.

  1. Introductions
  2. Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.
  1. Public Comments
  2. No public comments were offered.
  1. Consideration of Minutes
  2. The Committee reviewed minutes from May 3, 2018, Project Development Committee meeting. An error in the date listed on the document header was noted, the date should be changed to May 3, 2018.
  4. MOTION: To approve the minutes from May 3, 2018, Project Development Committee, with the correction to the header.
  5. MADE BY: Rick Tisch
  6. SECOND: Mateo Delgado
  7. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Chair’s Remarks
  2. Chair Cortez emphasized the importance of being prepared when attending the Council meetings, which results in a productive gathering. The new agency representatives were welcomed and encouraged to provide input.
  1. Member Updates
  2. Committee members provided updates on their activities during the previous quarter. Council member Rick Tisch reported meeting Tim Martin, the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics of Texas (SOTX), at a function in Houston.
  4. Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) representative Paula Brunson reported that initiatives funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have been expanded for youth between the ages of 14-22 with disabilities. TWC is concentrating on activities such as a summer earn and learn program, leadership and development training, apprenticeships, and opportunities in integrated work settings.
  6. Maternal and Child Health Services representative Katlyn Le reported that her agency is focusing on community inclusion needs and has reached out to the National Inclusion Project to learn about training opportunities. They are also meeting with Austin Parks and Recreation to learn how they include people with disabilities.
  8. Older Americans Act representative Lisa Akers-Owen discussed the Health and Human Services Commission draft Legislative Appropriations Request that would increase the wage amounts for all projects that offer attendant services.
  10. Council member Andrew Crim explained the withdrawal of his previous resignation to the Council and the confirmation from the staff at the Governor’s Appointments Office that he could return without reappointment.
  1. Staff Reports
    1. Status of New/Approved Projects
      1. Planning Director Joanna Cordry reported that three grants closed during this past quarter:
      2. National Disability Institute-Understanding Employment Options & Support Training
      3. Texas Advocates-Self-Advocates Grass Roots Community Organization
      4. Region 17 Educational Service Center-Families in Schools
      1. Three new grants started in the summer of 2018:
      2. Texas State Independent Living Council – Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions began in July.
      3. Texas State Independent Living Council – Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas began in July.
      4. Easterseals of Central Texas – Leadership Development and Advocacy Training began in August.
    2. Projected Available Funds
      Operations Director Martha Cantu reported that $413,095 remains in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funds that will need to be assigned to grantees by September 30, 2018 and spent by September 30, 2019. Although a negative balance of $640,483 shows for FY 18 funds, this will change due to unspent funds from current grant projects, delayed starts of new projects, and funding assigned to RFPs that may not eventually be completely obligated. At the Committee’s request, Cantu reviewed the process of assigning funds from different fiscal years to grantees based on their spending. Cantu reported that no funds have returned to the federal government in several years, but one grantee may return $4,500 of FY 16 funds that cannot be reallocated and will need to be returned to the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

    3. Other Updates
      Planning Director Joanna Cordry reported the following Request for Proposals (RFP) are posted and close on September 7, 2018

      1. Older Adults with Developmental Disabilities and their Caregivers.
      2. Health and Wellness.
      3. Statewide Community Services Peer Support Specialists.
    5. Conference calls to provide information on these projects are scheduled, and the staff is available for questions.
  1. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Executive Summaries
    1. Sexual Health Education
      Planning Director Cordry presented the executive summary for Sexual Health Education. This project would provide opportunities for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), family members, providers, and allies to develop an understanding of the aspects of sexual health. The project would explore and discuss ways to establish training across the state and provide input to TCDD for the development of strategies to address system gaps. The training intention is to reduce negative experiences not specific to sexual assaults.

      Committee members had concerns about the length of the planning period by the grantee. It was explained that the first year of the grant is a planning year, but the expectation is that the grantee would already possess or have the resources to obtain the knowledge needed to educate the DD population on this issue.

      The Committee expressed interest in understanding the diverse ways this topic could be presented and suggested that online videos could target younger generations vs. the standard model of face-to-face training. Members expressed an interest in models that would teach parents how to educate their child and encourages the use of discussion groups to address awareness of the potential for abuse.

      MOTION: To recommend Council approval of up to $100,000, per year, for up to 3 years, for a Sexual Health Education project.
      MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
      SECOND: Mateo Delgado
      The motion passed unanimously.

    2. Prevention of and Response to Sexual Abuse
      Cordry presented the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Abuse Executive Summary. This project would help improve awareness, access to information and training that could assist in the reduction of sexual assault and understanding of ways to respond to incidences of assault. The target audiences are individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities, families, service providers, medical personnel, and appropriate criminal justice professionals.

      The Committee discussed the types of activities that this project would consist of, which may include videos, classes, training lectures, and literature. Members discussed ways in which a caregiver could identify abuse is occurring to a person with a disability, especially a person who has limited verbal communication skills. They further questioned how the project would raise awareness of sexual abuse. It was noted that identifying sexual abuse in people without disabilities can be complicated, and training on this subject could be difficult. It was noted that other states have addressed this issue and funded this type of training.

      The Committee requested that staff conduct additional research and bring separate executive summaries for training geared to specific groups. Members proposed three projects that would address individuals with disabilities and their family members as well as service providers, medical professionals, and criminal just professionals. They also suggested that the funding amount for each project be equivalent to the funding amount proposed in the executive summary presented.

    3. Advanced Leadership Training for Professionals
      Cordry presented the Advanced Leadership training for Professionals Executive Summary. This project would support the training of executive level managers and organizational leaders who provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to develop advanced knowledge and skills in their respective fields. Members suggested that design thinking principles be included in this project. Design thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems.

      MOTION: To recommend Council approval of funding for up to $150,000 per year, for up to five years for Advance Leadership Training for Professionals.
      MADE BY: Andrew Crim
      SECOND: Scott McAvoy
      The motion passed unanimously.

  1. Other Discussion Items
    Texas Education Agency (TEA) representative Justin Porter reported that TEA is searching for organizations to help school districts overhaul special education services. TEA is offering more than $20 million in grants available to Texas universities and the 20 Education Service Centers to accomplish this goal. The U.S. Department of Education investigation concluded that Texas violated federal law by failing to ensure students with disabilities were effectively identified, evaluated and provided with adequate public education. Committee members questioned if TCDD could implement projects to assist families to ensure their children with disabilities are appropriately evaluated.
  3. Committee members discussed complex mental health needs and substance abuse disorders in people with developmental disabilities and directed TCDD staff to research these issues for future discussion and potential projects.


There being no further business, Chair Cortez adjourned the meeting at 4:18 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council