TCDD held quarterly Council and Committee meetings both virtually and in person from Feb. 2-5, 2022. During the meetings, the Council awarded funding to both new and ongoing TCDD projects, welcomed new members, and considered future state plan activities.
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, the Council awarded funding for two new Self-Advocacy Group Mini-Grant projects:
- Academic Research Associates will provide technical support to local self-advocate-led groups that want to grow to become 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
- Texas Advocates was awarded funding to support its administrative structure and operations to build organizational capacity
Council members also awarded funding to continue the development of 11 existing TCDD projects. The following list includes the organizations and projects that were awarded continuation funding along with summaries of the projects’ goals:
- Alamo Area Council of Governments — Support for Older Adults with DD and Their Caregivers: Provide classes and resources to older adults with DD and caregivers so they can age in place, improve their health, and attain a higher quality of life.
- Baylor College of Medicine — Advancing Behavioral Health Integration: Improve the training of medical, dental, and behavioral health care professionals so they can provide more knowledgeable, compassionate, and patient-centered care for people with DD.
- University of Massachusetts Medical School — Statewide Community Services Peer-Support Specialists: Develop training to support people with DD who want to become peer-support specialists and serve as mentors for other people with DD.
- Baylor College of Medicine — Transition to Adult Care Mentorship: Develop and test a peer-mentorship program for people with DD transitioning from pediatric to adult Medicaid and Home and Community-Based Services.
- Project Amistad — Money Basics: Increase the number of people with DD who have the knowledge and tools needed to successfully manage their money.
- Special Olympics Texas — Healthy LEAP (Lifestyle, Education, and Practice): Improve health education and practices through an inclusive school health program. The statewide project provides instruction and support to grade-school students with and without DD on ways to maintain their health and wellness.
- Texas Tech University — Project TEDD (Training Educators in Dual Diagnosis): Provide special educators with “train-the-trainer” workshops so they can train other educators to recognize, understand, and work with students who have DD and mental health conditions.
- The Arc of Texas — The Whole Person Project: Expand access to mental health care services and supports for people with DD by developing training for mental health care providers and other professionals across Texas.
- University of Massachusetts Medical School — Complex Mental Health Needs and People with DD: Develop a gap analysis of the mental health services available to people with DD in Texas.
- The SAFE Alliance — Sexual Assault Response and Prevention: Develop a comprehensive approach to ending sexual assault against youth and adults with DD.
- West Central Texas Regional Foundation — Leadership and Advocacy Skills in Rural Areas: Increase advocacy and leadership opportunities for people with DD in rural areas of West Texas.
TCDD also provides stipends to increase access to disability information, advocacy opportunities, and COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities. Stipends can be used for disability-related speakers, translation and interpretation services, events, and more. However, the event stipends have been suspended until further notice due to the pandemic. This quarter, TCDD provided the following stipends:
- Austin Travis County Integral Care (speaker stipend): Central Texas African American Family Support Conference
- Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition (speaker stipend): 33rd Annual Children’s Disabilities Symposium
- Jewish Family Service (speaker stipend): UpAbilities ReelPeople ReelAbilities Houston Film and Art Festival
- Jewish Family Service (translation stipend): UpAbilities ReelPeople ReelAbilities Houston Film and Art Festival
See Funding Available to learn more about TCDD grant funding and stipend opportunities.
Council Membership Changes
This quarter, the Council welcomed seven newly appointed members: Deborah “Debbie” Carlisle of San Antonio, Kyle Cox of College Station, Juan Carlos Lopez of Edinburg, Amanda Miles of Alvin, Angela “Angie” Panzica of Houston, Meridith Silcox of Splendora, and Jaime Thomas of Abilene.
Council members also elected Kimberly Torres of Houston as the new Council vice chair and Eric Shahid of Somerville as the new self-advocate member at large to the Executive Committee.
Several Council members completed their terms this quarter: Rebecca Hunter Adkins of Lakeway, Kimberly Blackmon of Fort Worth, Kristen Cox of El Paso, Molly Spratt of Austin, and Toby Summers of San Antonio. We’d like to thank these outgoing members for their exceptional work on the Council and for their dedication to improving the lives of Texans with DD.
Discussions and Presentations
Council members approve and monitor TCDD’s strategic state plan, which guides projects and policy work. During their meetings, the Council considered the following future state plan activities:
- leadership development and advocacy training led by self-advocates and youth;
- leadership development and advocacy training in rural areas;
- strategic planning for statewide self-advocacy networks;
- accessible and effective treatment for substance-use disorders for people with DD;
- health equity for people with DD; and
- increasing cultural humility and disability awareness among elected officials and their staff.
Council members discussed updates to the TCDD Public Policy Priorities ahead of the next Texas legislative session in 2023. The Council also reviewed several governance matters, including TCDD policies and procedures.
The Council heard presentations from Antonio Martinez and Diana Chavarria of the Alamo Area Council on Governments, which is coordinating a TCDD-funded project on supporting older adults with DD and their caregivers, and from Laura Marquez, a TCDD-funded policy fellow with Paso del Norte. See Funded Projects to learn more about TCDD-funded projects and grant products.