November 2023 Council Meeting Wrap-up

Table of Contents

TCDD held quarterly meetings virtually and in person in Houston from Nov. 1-3, 2023. During the meetings, Council members awarded grant funding and engaged in discussions on significant disability issues, including oral health care, special education, community recreation, and more. 

Funding Awards and Stipends

TCDD invests in projects to strengthen service and support systems across Texas. Our projects build community capacity to help people with developmental disabilities (DD). This quarter, Council members awarded grant funding to one organization for a new project. The following information includes the project description and organization awarded funding.

Statewide Self-Advocacy Network Capacity Building: Build the organizational capacity of self-advocacy organizations to become more established in their communities, create partnerships, conduct formal activities, and ultimately expand their role and impact statewide.

  • Texas Advocates  

In addition, Council members awarded funding to existing TCDD grantees to continue the development of seven ongoing projects.

Civic Engagement for People with Disabilities: Provide training and opportunities for people with DD to engage in conversations addressing issues critical to their independence, self-determination, and inclusion in community life.

  • Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition  

Disability Cultural Humility for Elected Officials: Develop training programs and materials for elected leaders to deepen their understanding of people with disabilities and increase their engagement with the disability community.

  • Dallas Metrocare Services  

Leadership Development and Advocacy Training led by Self-Advocates: Support self-advocates as they develop leadership skills, participate in local self-advocacy groups and partnerships, and become more visible leaders in their communities.

  • Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition   

Money Basics: Increase the money management skills of people with DD so they can effectively manage their money and have more control over their lives.

  • Project Amistad   

Self-Advocates in Participatory Action Research: Develop an accessible training curriculum for people with DD to engage in participatory action research.

  • disABILITYsa   

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response: Establish a sustainable sexual assault prevention model for people with DD that enhances self-advocacy and leads to an enriched quality of life.

  • West Central Texas Council of Governments   

Treatment for Substance-Use Disorders: Improve the quality of care and services for people with DD who experience substance-use disorders.

  • The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth   

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 Theatre Alliance
  • Harris County Department of Education
  • NAMI Texas
  • Providers Alliance for Community Services of Texas
  • Texas Tribune

Discussions and Presentations

The Council approves and monitors TCDD’s strategic state plan, which guides projects and policy work. This quarter, Council members discussed future state plan activities, including a project to address targeted disparity and barriers to employment for people with DD in South Texas.

Council members participated in a panel discussion on oral health and DD, with speakers including:

  • David Fray from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Allison Hall from Branchly spoke about a TCDD-funded project to give people with DD better access to dentists while also developing training for health care providers.
  • John Berens from Baylor College of Medicine shared information about a TCDD-funded project to improve the training of medical, dental, and behavioral health care professionals so they may provide better patient-centered care for people with DD.
  • Kathleen Chavez and Christine Reyes from Laredo Public Health discussed local efforts to address barriers to dental care for people with DD in Laredo.    

The Council also engaged in presentations and discussions on other important disability topics and initiatives:

  • Special Education: Jane Friou, co-founder of the Houston Special Education Parent Association, spoke about advocacy efforts for students in the Houston Independent School District who need special education services. Lisa Flores, a parent and disability advocate, discussed the state of special education services in the Austin Independent School District.
  • Community Recreation: Erin Fogarty, a TCDD regional coordinator for the North Texas region, gave a presentation on community-based recreation opportunities.
  • Legislative Updates: Council members engaged with TCDD staff on updates from the recent special session in the Texas Legislature and reviewed interim charge recommendations to lawmakers.
  • South Texas Platicas: TCDD Regional Coordinators Rosa Guel (South Region) and Alexandra Venegas (Central Region) gave a presentation about connecting with Spanish-speaking self-advocates, families, and caregivers in South Texas through community conversations called pláticas.

Next Meetings

TCDD’s next quarterly meetings are scheduled from Feb. 7-9, 2024. To receive announcements about future meetings, subscribe to our newsletter.



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