August 2023 Council Meeting Wrap-up

TCDD held quarterly meetings both virtually and in person in Houston from Aug. 2-4, 2023. During the meetings, Council members awarded funding to continue the development of several ongoing grant projects, discussed legislative advocacy activities, and engaged with presentations on disability topics.

Funding Awards and Stipends

TCDD invests in projects to strengthen service and support systems across Texas and build community capacity to help people with developmental disabilities (DD). This quarter, Council members awarded funding to seven existing TCDD grantees to continue the development of ongoing projects. The following information includes project descriptions and the organizations awarded funding.

Health Equity for People with DD: Increase knowledge of the lived experience of people with DD and their families and improve self-direction, accessibility, and the effectiveness of health care treatment and support.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake

Leadership and Advocacy Training led by Self-Advocates: Create ways for people with DD to become leaders and expand their participation in cross-disability and culturally diverse leadership coalitions.

  • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
  • Texas Advocates

Leadership and Advocacy Training for Youth Self-Advocates: Develop opportunities for youth with DD to develop as leaders and advocates for themselves and their peers.

  • Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center

New Initiatives: Identify and propose innovative solutions to the local, regional, and statewide needs of people with DD.

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (Partnering with Law Enforcement for Inclusion and Support): Establish initiatives for inclusion, support, and policy related to police encounters with people with DD.

TCDD also provides stipends to increase access to disability information and advocacy opportunities. Stipends are available for conferences and eventsdisability-related speakers, and translation and interpretation services. This quarter, TCDD provided stipends to the following organizations:

  • Baylor College of Medicine for the Community Collaboration for Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Spina Bifida
  • Faith Inclusion Network for the 2023 Institute on Theology and Disability
  • Manifest Academy for the Self-Determination Camp
  • Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center for the 75th Anniversary Luncheon for Cerebral Palsy Awareness
  • Texas Advocates for the 40 Years of Breaking Barriers Conference
  • Texas Parent to Parent for 18th annual Statewide Parent Conference

Council Business

Council members elected new chairpersons for two Council committees.

Meridith Silcox is the new chair of the Project Development Committee, which oversees planning and funding activities; develops and monitors TCDD’s strategic state plan; recommends new funding activities; and reviews grantee activities and accomplishments.

Angie Panzica is the new chair of the Public Policy Committee, which coordinates public policy advocacy and public information activities; develops public policy position statements; and identifies key health and human services policy issues and recommends activities.

The Council also approved its operating expense budget for fiscal year 2024, which runs from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024. With an anticipated federal funding award of about $6.1 million, the Council’s 2024 operating budget allocates:

  • 58 percent for grants to statewide partners;
  • 28 percent for TCDD-led training, policy analysis, and community engagement; and
  • 14 percent for general administration.

Discussions and Presentations

The Council approves and monitors TCDD’s strategic state plan, which guides projects and policy work. During their meetings, the Council discussed future state plan activities, including projects to build the capacity of statewide self-advocacy networks so people with DD can provide important knowledge, experience, and skills in discussions and policy decisions that impact their lives.

In addition to state plan activities, Council members reviewed disability-related issues considered during the recent Texas legislative session. Throughout the session, TCDD covered important disability issues and noteworthy bills from the Capitol. To learn more, see 88th Legislative Session.

Council members engaged with presenters who shared information on a variety of disability topics and initiatives:

  • Angela Miller, Elaine Smith, and Kary Johnson of Literacy United discussed the goals and outcomes of their organization’s Reading for All project, a recently completed project funded by TCDD that helped people with DD learn and improve their reading skills.
  • Brooke Hohfield and Deborah Wallace of Texas Advocates and Ara Merjanian of the Texas Governor’s Center for Management Development reviewed a strategic planning initiative for Texas Advocates.
  • Devender Banda and Dr. Wayne Moore of Texas Tech University discussed Project TEDD (Training Educators in Dual Diagnosis), a TCDD-funded project that coordinates training for special educators to support students who are dually diagnosed with DD and mental health conditions.
  • Sarah Hardin, Ashley Sattler, Katie Sheffield, and Lisa Simmons of The Arc of Greater Beaumont spoke about their organization’s and their advocacy activities during the recent Texas legislative session.
  • TCDD Regional Coordinator Rosa Guel led a discussion on building capacity to support employment for Hispanic Texans with DD in the lower Rio Grande Valley region.

Next Meetings

TCDD’s next quarterly meetings are scheduled to take place Nov. 1-3, 2023. To receive announcements about future meetings, subscribe to our newsletter.



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