EveryChild, Inc. — Policy Fellow

Policy Fellow

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Statewide Need
Many professional advocates who have successfully collaborated with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families on disability-related policy issues are nearing retirement. It is important to ensure that new policy-focused professionals receive training and mentoring from these experienced professionals. Unfortunately, the opportunities to be mentored by seasoned experts may decrease as those experts retire. Additionally, organizations that are seeing decreased budgets have difficulties hiring individuals who would benefit from having experienced mentors.

Project Goal
The Policy Fellow will learn about family-based alternatives for children and youth who are living in facilities under the auspices of Health and Human Services Commission (Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and the Department of Family and Protective Services).

Project Summary
EveryChild provided a supportive learning environment for the Policy Fellow to develop a deep understanding of issues and to engage in public policy. The Fellow’s experience reinforced the philosophy that children with IDD should grow up in well supported families and not in institutions, and provided understanding, knowledge, and experience to engage in policy work to reach desired outcomes.

The fellow regularly met with the EveryChild staff where she learned about many programs and policy issues, contributed in meetings and policy discussions, and developed recommendations with policy partner organizations and state agency committees. The Fellow developed communications products, provided presentations and testimony to stakeholders, and reviewed and revised research of policy issues and position papers. The Fellow worked with organizations, advisory committees, and workgroups to seek endorsement of policy recommendations.

Getting to know children and families helped her tell their stories, develop recommendations, provide testimony, and advocate for policy change with agencies and partner organizations.

  • Impact
    • Visited over 10 legislative offices and attended legislative hearings
      • Presented testimony on Waiver access for children in the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) facilities, gaps in services for Autistic youth, the YES waiver, and the need for a comprehensive provider for children with IDD
    • Met with representatives of over 15 disability and children’s advocacy organizations
    • Made visits to over 15 facilities for children with IDD and met with over 25 children and families to develop stories
    • Attended over 14 conferences and trainings
    • Developed 7 trainings alongside EveryChild staff
    • Participated in advocacy activities, including developing new relationships with children’s advocacy groups; developing recommendations; providing testimony; and seeking and gaining support of recommendations from partner and agency advisory groups
    • Developed and submitted policy issues with recommendations for change to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
      • The major policy recommendation, “Restore funding for Medicaid Waivers for children with IDD in DFPS facilities,” was included in the HHSC Legislative Appropriations Request

Project Period
Oct 2012 – Sep 2018

8400 N. Mopac, Ste. #201
Austin, Texas 78759

Geographic Reach

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