The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) held its quarterly Council and Committee Meetings from February 6 to February 8 in Austin. Over the course of the three days, the Council awarded continuation funding for innovative projects, received updates regarding legislative issues, and educated legislators about the Council’s public policy priorities.
The Council approves and monitors the implementation of TCDD’s Five-Year State Plan, which guides TCDD’s projects and policy work. This quarter, the Council discussed disability-related topics for future State Plan activities, including establishing community outreach coordinators to amplify TCDD’s impact around the state of Texas. The Council also discussed a project that will include a gap analysis for professionals so they can help prevent – and respond to – sexual offenses committed against people with developmental disabilities (DD).
During the February meeting, the Council elected two members to serve in leadership roles for 2019. Andrew Crim was elected to serve as the Council’s Vice-Chair and Kimberly Blackmon was re-elected to serve a second term as the Self-Advocate Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee. Also, two new state agency representatives were recently appointed to the Council. Holly Riley, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Aging Services manager, and Wes Yeager, Texas HHSC Office of Aging and Disability Resource Centers director, were both appointed to represent the Older Americans Act on the Council.
Grants and Stipends
TCDD invests in projects that work to change the system of services and supports, build community capacity to support people with disabilities, and empower advocates to have their voices heard by decision-makers. This quarter, the Council awarded continuation funding for several projects that are already in progress. Below are the grantees and their associated projects:
- Imagine Art – Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in the Community
- Project Amistad – Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions
- Texas Advocates – Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions
- West Central Texas Regional Foundation – Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training in Rural Areas
TCDD provides stipends to increase access to disability-related information and advocacy skills. Event Stipends support people with DD and family members to attend informational conferences or advocacy skills training events. Disability-Related Speaker Stipends support presentations on disability-related issues at conferences and workshops in Texas. Translation and Interpretation Services Stipends reduce linguistic barriers to access services and supports in Texas. In the past quarter, TCDD awarded stipends to the following organizations (related events in parentheses):
- Jewish Family Service (ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival: UpAbilities)
- The Arc of Texas (Inclusion Works! Conference)
- Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition (Children’s Disabilities Symposium)
- Attention Deficit Disorders Association-Southern Region (ADDA-SR Conference)
- Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center (Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder Conference)
- Autism Society of El Paso Texas (Autism Conference for Parents)
- Austin Travis County Integral Care (Central Texas African American Family Support Conference)
- Texas Tech University-Burkhart Center (Higher Education Think Tank)
- University of North Texas Kristin Farmer Autism Center (Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference)
- The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Annual Conference)
To learn more about stipends for events, speakers, and translation and interpretation services, visit our Funding Available page.
The Council connects with community partners and serves as a resource on DD issues to others – people with disabilities, advocates, legislators, and other decision-makers. To accomplish these goals, the Council works to stay up-to-date and informed on trends in Texas that could affect people with DD. During the February meeting, the Council received a presentation from Belinda Carlton of the Guardianship Reform and Supported Decision-Making (GRSDM) workgroup. Carlton discussed some of GRSDM’s past legislative successes, as well as the legislative priorities they are focusing on for the 86th Texas Legislature. To learn more about alternatives to guardianship and supported decision-making, visit our Guardianship Alternatives page.
During the February meeting, Council members focused their efforts on educating legislators about TCDD’s public policy priorities. After receiving a briefing from Scott Daigle, TCDD’s public policy director, about the state of the Texas Legislature, Council members visited their legislators at the Capitol and discussed TCDD’s priorities. Then, after making visits to legislative offices, Council members hosted a Legislative Speed Dating event at the Capitol where legislators and legislative staff members could get in-depth information about disability-related issues from TCDD’s governor-appointed Council members. In all, Council members visited over 20 legislative offices and 20 staffers from legislative offices participated in the Legislative Speed Dating event.
Next Council Meeting
TCDD’s next quarterly Council and Committee Meetings will be held May 1 to May 3, 2019, in Austin. To receive updates about future Council Meetings, visit the Get Involved with TCDD webpage for ways to follow us.