May 2019 Council Meeting Wrap-Up

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities Logo Hero Graphic

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) held its quarterly Council and Committee Meetings from May 1-3 in Austin. During the meetings, the Council funded new innovative projects, gave input on disability-related initiatives, and discussed legislative issues.

Council Business

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. The topics included:

  • research of substance use disorder in people with developmental disabilities (DD),
  • higher education strategies,
  • establishing community outreach coordinators to amplify TCDD’s impact around the state, and
  • engaging new generations such as millennials in advocacy activities.

The Council also discussed projects that will include a gap analysis for medical and therapeutic professionals; improvements to the criminal justice response to sexual offense cases; and support for people with DD, their families, friends, and allies to help prevent and respond to sexual offenses committed against people with DD.

Grants and Stipends

TCDD invests in projects 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 grant funding for seven new projects.

New Initiatives: Hill Country MHDD, Santa Maria Hostel, and Texas Parent to Parent received grants to develop new initiatives that will improve the lives of people with DD. Through these projects, organizations will have opportunities to utilize their expertise to identify issues and propose innovative strategies to address those issues.

Sexual Health Education: Texas Tech University received a grant to develop projects to improve the sexual health of people with DD. Through the project, adults with DD, families, providers, and other allies will participate in training and educational events.

Advanced Leadership Training for Professionals: The Arc of Texas and Texas Tech University received grants to support training for professionals who work in the disability field to develop advanced knowledge and skills to positively impact the DD services and supports system.

Outreach and Development: Dominique Cares received a grant to develop a project that will address the needs of people with DD from traditionally under-represented or underserved populations from certain racial and cultural groups.

The Council also awarded continuation funding for several projects in progress. The grantees and their associated projects are listed below.

  • Easter Seals Central Texas: DD Policy Fellow
  • Educational Programs Inspiring Communities:Youth Leadership Development
  • Family to Family Network: DD Policy Fellow
  • Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC): Accessible Transportation Summits
  • Texas SILC: Leadership Development and Advocacy Training (Rural Areas)
  • Texas SILC: Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions

For more information about TCDD’s projects, check out our Current Grant Projects. To learn about current and upcoming grant opportunities, visit our Funding Available page.

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. This quarter, TCDD provided stipends to two organizations. The organizations and their associated events are listed below.

  • Harris County Department of Education: Autism Summit
  • Texas Parent to Parent: 2019 Texas Parent to Parent Conference

To learn more about stipends for events, speakers, and translation and interpretation services, visit our Funding Available page.

TCDD Policy Fellows

The Council awards grants to Texas organizations to hire Policy Fellows so they may develop a deep understanding of disability policy, build skills to promote self-determination, and engage in policy activities that lead to systems change. During the May meeting, the Council heard presentations from two Policy Fellows: Lauren Gerken with the Arc of Texas and Tiffany Williams with the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.

Lifespan Education: Gerken presented on the importance of making services and supports available to people with DD starting in early childhood. She also provided information about the current state of disability programs. Gerken shared data on how the availability of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services lessens the need for special education services later in the lives of children with DD. Additionally, she explained how both ECI and special education can give children with DD strong foundations and skills, enabling them to be less reliant on services such as Medicare waivers.

Mental Health and School Safety: Williams’ presentation focused on the importance of on-site services and staff training to address school safety issues and recognize signs of trauma and stress in students. She discussed educator and staff training strategies that identify indicators of mental health issues as well as methods to address those issues with on-site resources and referral-based supports.

Next Council Meeting

TCDD’s next quarterly Council and Committee Meetings will be held Aug. 7-9, 2019, in Austin. To receive updates about future Council Meetings, visit the Get Involved with TCDD webpage for ways to follow us.