February 2023 Council Meeting Wrap-Up

TCDD February 2023 Council Meeting Recap

TCDD held quarterly Council and Committee meetings both virtually and in person from Feb. 8-10, 2023. During the meetings, Council members awarded funding to new and ongoing projects; visited with state lawmakers at the Texas Capitol; and engaged in discussions 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 for grants in two new projects. The following information includes project descriptions and organizations awarded funding.

Coping with Grief and Loss: Develop educational resources for people with DD that provide information on coping with grief and loss.

  • Rice University

Adults with DD Supporting Aging Family Members: Develop educational resources to support people with DD to fully participate in the care of parents or family caregivers who are aging.

  • Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG)

In addition to funding new projects, Council members awarded funding to existing TCDD grantees to continue the development of grants in five ongoing projects.

Support for Older Adults with DD and Caregivers: Develop new initiatives to meet the needs of older adults with DD and caregivers and reduce gaps in long-term services and supports.

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Health and Wellness: Improve the health and wellness of people with DD through educating individuals, families, and professionals; addressing gaps in services and access to health care; and building community capacity to support healthy practices.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Special Olympics Texas

Complex Mental Health Needs: Create promising practices that support people who are dually diagnosed with DD and mental health conditions.

  • Texas Tech University
  • The Arc of Texas
  • University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

Money Basics: Educate, train, and support people with DD so they can manage their money more effectively and have more control over their lives.

  • Project Amistad

Sexual Assault Response and Prevention: Reduce the number of people with DD who are victims of sexual assault; increase the number of people who understand, identify, and report sexual assault; and ensure sexual assault survivors have access to supports and services.

  • The SAFE Alliance

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:

  • Austin Travis County Integral Care: Central Texas African American Family Support Conference (Speakers)
  • Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition: Transition Conference for Parents (Speakers)
  • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities: 2023 Advocacy Training (Events)
  • Family to Family Network: Annual Conference and Resource Fair (Events)
  • Jewish Family Services: ReelAbilities Houston Film and Art Festival (Speakers and Translation)
  • NAMI Texas: Annual Conference and Awards Celebration (Events)
  • United Megacare (TD Jakes Ministries): 60 Days of IDD Awareness (Events)

Council Business

Council members re-elected Kimberly Torres of Houston as the Council vice chair and Eric Shahid of Somerville as the self-advocate member at large to the Executive Committee. Members of the Council’s Executive Committee supervise and evaluate the TCDD executive director; develop and monitor policies and procedures; approve grant awards and monitor the grant-awarding process; and act on behalf of the full Council for emergency matters.

Discussions and Presentations

The Council approves and monitors TCDD’s strategic state plan, which guides projects and policy work. During this quarter’s meetings, Council members discussed future state plan activities, including projects to:

  • collect, summarize, and distribute stories and personal experiences of people with DD, family members, and others related to their participation in TCDD activities and other issues important to their lives; and
  • develop education and training to support patients with DD and caregivers in communicating with their health care providers and making decisions about their health care.

With the 88th Texas legislative session underway, Council members made in-person visits with state lawmakers at the Texas Capitol. Council members met with their individual representatives to share insight on important disability issues and provide information about TCDD’s Public Policy Priorities as well as the Council’s role in the policymaking process.

Council members engaged in a panel discussion on the legislative session with panelists including Amy Litzinger of Texas Parent to Parent, Ashley Ford of The Arc of Texas, and Jacquie Benestante of the Autism Society of Texas. The Council also heard a presentation from Texas Advocates representatives Brooke Hohfeld, Deborah Wallace, and Holly Vanscoy, who discussed Texas Advocates projects funded by TCDD.

Next Meetings

TCDD’s next quarterly meetings will take place May 3-5, 2023. To receive announcements about future meetings, subscribe to our newsletter.



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