Minutes — February 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting

2016 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Kristen Cox, Council Vice-Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Patty Anderson, DRTX
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Kristine Clark
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Barbara Kaatz, TEA
  • Jennifer Kaut, DARS
  • Ruth Mason
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Dana Perry
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Amy Sharp, UT CDS
  • Meagan Sumbera, A&M CDD
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Richard Tisch
  • April Young, HHSC
  • Donnie Wilson, DADS

Council Members Absent

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Kristine Clark
  • Andrew Crim

Guests Present

  • Justin Babineaux
  • Danny Castro
  • Mary Castro
  • Stephen Castro
  • Wesley Dotson
  • Isabel Evans
  • Shiloh Gonzales
  • Rachel Harmen
  • DeAnn Lechtenberger
  • Megan Morgan
  • Darryl Powell
  • Brian White
  • Dan Zhang, A&M CDD

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Belinda Carlton
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Wendy Jones
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, February 4, 2016, in the Colony Ballroom C of the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Hotel, 12525 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, TX 78738. Council Vice-Chair Kristen Cox called the meeting to order at 9:34 AM. Council Chair Mary Durheim was absent and asked Vice-Chair Cox to facilitate the meeting.

  1. Introductions

    Council members, staff and guests introduced themselves.

  2. Public Comments

    No public comments were offered to the Committee.

  3. Chair and Executive Director Remarks

    Vice-Chair Cox advised that she did not have further report items.

    Executive Director Beth Stalvey reported on strategic planning process activities from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD). TCDD and other state council colleagues are providing input for this process. She also reported on One Vote which is a partner project of NACDD and other disability advocacy organizations to enhance the voting bloc of people with disabilities and protect the fundamental right of one person, one vote. More information on this project can be found at www.onevotenow.org.

    Stalvey presented highlights of the 2015 Annual Program Performance Report (APPR) which summarizes Council activities of FY 2015. The report provides a State of the State update, shows the impact of TCDD grantees and highlights public policy activities, public information activities and Council priorities and activities. Stalvey reviewed details of the State of State update which include implementation of Community First Choice, legislation on supported decision-making, state supported living center census, interest lists for community based supports, and Sunset recommendations for health and human services consolidation and to continue TCDD as an agency. Stalvey further provided details of TCDD activities and grant highlights and she reviewed input from stakeholders on what TCDD does well and what improvements can be made.

    Council members shared personal updates on family activities as well as advocacy efforts related to long-term services and transition issues.

  4. Grantee Highlights and Presentation

    TCDD Grants Management Specialist Wendy Jones briefly discussed Texas Tech University’s Higher Education Project CASE noting that with four of the five project years completed, the project has already passed the project goal to have ten students with significant disabilities graduate from the program. Jones introduced project manager DeAnn Lechtenberger and Wes Dotson to provide project highlights. Lechtenberger thanked the Council for the investment of this project. The project will allow students with significant disabilities to earn a college degree or certificate in the field of their choice and gain competitive employment after graduation. The program focuses on providing the additional societal and academic supports needed for students with developmental disabilities. She discussed barriers to obtaining accommodations and being successful in the college environment. Project CASE is fully inclusive and provides individualized supports, contains programs at the 4-year university as well as 2-year community colleges, uses strength-based assessments and programming, and emphasizes degree programs as well as competitive employment. She discussed the variety of college majors and internships that are available to students who participate in Project CASE. Dotson reviewed data of project participants noting that 26 students have completed internships, 14 students have graduated with 11 in competitive employment and 3 in graduate programs, 25 students are currently enrolled with 8 employed. Project CASE has a 76% retention rate which is equal to Texas Tech freshmen, higher than South Plains Community College freshmen, and more than double the national rate for students with disabilities.

    Current Project Case student Stephen Castro along with his parents provided his personal story of his experiences in the program. Castro completed his Associate’s Degree in Radio/Television at South Plains College and is currently working on his Bachelor’s Degree at Texas Tech University. Castro stated that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of four and was told he would not succeed in his education. Today, with support he was able to graduate high school. He was referred to Project Case and has experienced not only academic support but has gained confidence through social activities. Castro’s parents described their experiences with Stephen’s education and noted that during transition planning they were pushed to enroll him in a vocational program and told “not to dream big” but through the efforts of Project CASE he has shown tremendous growth in both education and as a self-advocate.

    Lechtenberger and Dotson closed with future goals for Project CASE, noting that they serve 20–25 students per year but that potentially 11,000 students with disabilities in the state of Texas could be eligible for these type services. They noted that more information is needed about what services are available throughout the state and suggest a collaborative effort to develop and promote resources. They also offered suggestions to collaborate with the Higher Education Coordinating Board on unfunded mandates to collect data on the needs of students with disabilities and best practices for students to be successful in college.

  5. Public Information Report

    TCDD Communications Coordinator Joshua Ryf provided an update on public information activities during the past quarter. He noted that informational campaigns were conducted on Legislative Interim Committee Charges, Extending Health Care Insurance for Adult Children, public input opportunities to HHSC on IDD Managed Care Pilots, and STAR Kids.

    Ryf discussed statistics related to Facebook and noted that the Texas Council has more followers than any other DD Council in the country.

    Ryf explained the upcoming Side-By-Side campaign for DD Awareness month in March. The campaign celebrates togetherness by showcasing stories and photographs of people with disabilities participating in activities along with people without disabilities. Members were encouraged to participate in this social media campaign by posting pictures or stories and using #sidebyside.

    Ryf discussed opportunities to profile Council members on social media with a photo and short bio to inspire others to become Council members.

  6. TCDD Financial Report

    TCDD Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the quarterly financial reports and explained the amounts left over for each fiscal year. She noted that while all of FY 2014 funds have been obligated, approximately $1 million will carry over from FY 15 to grant projects. When that is added to planned projects, it is still expected that $1 million will again carry over from FY 16. Members were encouraged to consider new projects to that would allow these funds to be obligated.

    Executive Director Stalvey explained that the national organizations work hard every year to advocate for level or increased funding from Congress and that the allotment from FY 16 was increased from FY 15 by $1 million for all DD Councils. TCDD expects a small increase once the notice of grant award is received.

  7. Fiscal Year 2017–2021 State Plan Goal and Objectives

    Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry reviewed the input received during the public comment period for the proposed FY 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan Goals and Objectives. She noted that more than 70 people commented overall and that 45–60 comments were received on each goal. A summary of all public comments was provided in in the Council meeting materials. Cordry focused the discussion on changes that were needed to the draft State Plan Goals and Objectives based on the input received. She noted that if major changes were recommended the plan would need to be posted again for public comment but if the plan is approved during the this Council meeting, staff will move forward in developing the activities that go along with the goals and objectives.

    Cordry reviewed the guiding principles of the plan noting that it builds on the previous State Plan; it is aligned with the TCDD mission, DD Act and AIDD requirements; and focuses on diversity, changing systems, self-advocacy and collaboration. She also discussed that further development of the plan will include details on key activities, expected outcomes, expected sub-outcomes, and data evaluation and measurement.

    Council members discussed public comments on suggested changes to objectives as well as implementation of each of the four goals of the FY 2017–2021 State Plan:

    • Create and Support Promising Practices

    • Improve and Expand Existing Community Based Systems

    • Self-Advocates and Advocates Influence Policy and Practice

    • Identify and Engage in Emerging Issues and Opportunities

    No significant changes to the existing goals and objectives were recommended.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of the FY 2017 – FY 2021 State Plan Goals and Objectives
    MADE BY: Rick Tisch
    SECOND: Mateo Delgado
    The motion passed unanimously.

  8. Council Challenge

    Council members participated in an education and training activity in the form of a Jeopardy style challenge that covered the topics of the TCDD State Plan Development, Housing, Children in Institutions, and Texas specific policy.


Council Vice-Chair Cox adjourned the Committee of the Whole adjourned at 1:25 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council