The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is seeking public comment on the draft goals and objectives for its 2022-2026 State Plan. This is an opportunity for you to provide input on the activities and policy work that we will conduct over the next five years. Anyone interested in disability issues in Texas — including self-advocates, family members of people with developmental disabilities (DD), service providers, and others — can participate and share their ideas. You can provide comments on the draft goals and objectives by completing our online public comment form, which is available in English and in Spanish. The deadline to provide comments is Jan. 8, 2021.
About the State Plan
Every five years, we develop a state plan with public input and in accordance with the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The state plan guides our work in funding innovative projects and engaging in public policy to help communities across Texas build their capacity to support and include people with DD in all areas of life. The draft goals and objectives are the culmination of TCDD Listens, an outreach campaign created to ensure that people with DD and others have opportunities to provide input on our state plan.
Through TCDD Listens, more than 500 self-advocates, family members, service providers, and others participated in online Community Conversations in June and July and shared their experiences and ideas. The events were hosted by TCDD regional coordinators in partnership with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. In addition, more than 200 self-advocates and family members shared input in a statewide survey to help us identify which needs are being met and which ones aren’t in the current system of services and supports in Texas.
The input provided through TCDD Listens informed the Council’s decisions in developing the focus and language of the draft goals and objectives for the state plan. After receiving comments, the Council will review and approve the final versions of the goals and objectives.
Draft Goals & Objectives
Goal 1: The Council will advance opportunities for more people with DD, their families, and other professionals to become strong self-advocates, peer trainers, and community leaders.
Objective 1: Increase capacity of self-advocates to organize at the state and local levels to share information and resources; develop policy skills; train other self-advocates; participate in cross-disability initiatives; and support independence and engagement within communities on issues that are important to them and their families.
This objective would support activities led by self-advocates and could involve work in areas such as leadership training, peer-support, reading skills, social interaction, financial literacy, and public policy.
Objective 2: Provide opportunities for family members and professionals to receive information, connect with resources, and develop policy skills to engage in state and local issues that are important to their families and individuals with DD they serve.
This objective would focus on engaging family members and professionals who work with people with DD to build individual skills, educate communities, and network to advance inclusive public policy.
Goal 2: The Council will lead in partnership with family members, self-advocates, and other stakeholders to improve community-based systems to be more fully inclusive and supportive of Texans with DD and their families.
Objective 1: Increase access to information, training, and education, and engage in policy initiatives to increase protections for the personal and civil rights of Texans with DD to live safe and independently, including during natural and public health emergencies.
This objective would include activities that support the prevention and response to sexual assault; preparation for natural disasters and public health emergencies; education on alternatives to guardianship; and ongoing promotion of the human rights of people with DD.
Objective 2: Increase access to services, supports, and other assistance that promote healthy growth and development across all ages — for example, in school and during the transition to post-graduation life — including innovative opportunities and best practices to obtain competitive integrated employment.
This objective would include activities to explore best practices in early childhood intervention and special education including online learning, peer-support, and expanding knowledge of students’ legal rights within schools. Activities would also focus on support for graduation from colleges and universities with degrees and having more opportunities for people to gain job experience through internships and apprenticeships.
Objective 3: Increase opportunities for employment for early-career adult Texans with DD of Hispanic origin who live in the deep south area of Texas through outreach, training, and interagency communication post-transition.
This objective would include activities to build support for Hispanic Texans with DD who want to find competitive, integrated jobs. Activities would address language barriers for Spanish-speaking families as well as efforts to reduce workplace bullying. Activities would also expand culturally appropriate information about working while maintaining Medicaid benefits.
Objective 4: Expand opportunities for Texans with DD to engage in healthy behaviors and access DD-informed health care services and supports.
This objective would include activities that focus on education about sexual health and healthy relationships. Activities would also support building community provider networks and developing mental health training for providers who work with people with all types of disabilities.
Objective 5: Increase supports for informal and formal caregivers and engage in training and policy initiatives to improve residential supports and transportation that are essential to quality of life and integration into the community.
This objective would include activities to strengthen support for community attendants, as well as siblings, aging caregivers, and other family members of people with DD. Activities will also focus on reducing barriers to accessing quality housing and accessible transportation essential to inclusion in community life.
Objective 6: Increase outreach and information to connect with Texans with DD and others, and lead policy initiatives that address regional-specific needs that emerge.
This objective would focus on education and advocacy opportunities to increase community inclusion that consider the unique regional characteristics in our state. Activities will also support reducing language barriers and building the organizational capacity of cultural minority groups.
Objective 7: Partner with our DD Network to develop joint policy initiatives to protect human rights and improve access to services, supports, and other assistance that include but are not limited to: protection from abuse and neglect, school discipline, safety in residential settings, and expanding access to mental health services and supports.
This objective would include activities that would seek to inform the state’s policy and rule-making process by providing analysis and public comment on important disability issues.
How to Provide Comments
You can provide comments on the draft goals and objectives by completing our online public comment form, which is available in English and in Spanish. When providing comments, you can respond to just one goal or objective, or you can respond to several of them or all of them.
Here are a few questions to consider for each goal and objective:
- How do the issues in the goal or objective impact your daily life?
- Is there an issue in the goal or objective that you would like to see prioritized over other issues?
- Is there an issue that is missing from these goals and objectives?
Public comments on the state plan are anonymous, and individual responses will not be shared publicly. The deadline to provide comments is Jan. 8, 2021.