DD Council Connection - April 2019

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerDD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to introduce to you our Council members, provide updates on the work we do and the grant projects we manage, and inform you on the activities and initiatives of Ohio's community of self-advocates and others who work on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and event calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:


Ohio Developmental Disabilities Caucus Holds First Meeting

Group picture of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities CaucusTuesday, April 16 marked the inaugural meeting of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Caucus. The DD Caucus, formed by Senators Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), will meet regularly to learn about the complex developmental disabilities system in Ohio and discuss issues identified by county boards of developmental disabilities, direct support professionals and agency providers, and self-advocate and family groups.

According to the 2018 Department of Developmental Disabilities' Annual Report, there are over 100,000 Ohioans who access services by working with their county board of developmental disabilities, direct service providers, and provider agencies to receive support so that they may live their lives to their fullest potential.

“As a former special education teacher and advocate for the disability community, I am happy to join my colleague, Senator Brenner, in this new caucus,” said Antonio, in a press release distributed by the Ohio Senate. “People who make up the disability community are an important part of the fabric of our society and we as legislators should do everything we can to work together for shared goals.”

The caucus will receive logistic support from stakeholder groups, including the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.

“We’re not there to ask for state laws or budget items,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Council. “The caucus is a chance for legislators to learn about our complex system in an atmosphere that is separate from legislative advocacy.”

Senators, Representatives and legislative staff in attendance received a synopsis on developmental disability systems in Ohio from Teresa Kobelt, director of Strategy, Innovation, and Forecasting for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI). Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities Director Jeff Davis also briefed the caucus on the function and form of Ohio’s developmental disabilities partners, saying, “we are a big family.”

Senators Brenner and Antonio asked the DD Stakeholders to develop a flow chart to help legislators and staff understand the different roles and responsibilities of each group.

If you would like to receive additional information, updates or future meeting notices, please email Brenner@OhioSenate.gov or Antonio@OhioSenate.gov.


Advocates in Action: Christine Brown Receives “40 Under 40” Honor

Picture of Christine Brown and Marci StraughterChristine Brown, a self advocate and clinical research assistant at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center, was selected as one of the “40 Under 40” by Columbus Business First.

This award recognizes emerging talent in the Columbus, Ohio business world. For many years, Christine has positively impacted legislation and advocates with leadership and passion on behalf of people with developmental disabilities.

No stranger to Ohio DD Council, Christine attends Council meetings regularly, both as a representative of the Nisonger Center and a fellow advocate among Council's members.

Out of 378 nominations, she and 39 others received this distinctive award. Read more about Christine and the other award recipients: 40 under 40 Class of 2019

Congratulations, Christine!

Pictured to the right is Christine Brown (left) with DD Council member Marci Straughter (right)


Estate Planning Guide Provides Insights for Ohioans with Disabilities

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council released a new book designed to improve understanding of the different strategies available for estate and special needs planning for individuals with disabilities, their families and others.

Planning for Bright Tomorrows: Estate and Future Planning for Ohioans with Disabilities and Those Who Love Them was authored by Dublin attorneys Logan K. Philipps and William K. Root. The book provides a complete overview of the different estate planning options available to families and individuals who have a disability.

Programs that people with disabilities rely on, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), include strict income and asset limits. According to Philips, naming a loved one with a disability in a will or trust can upset the balance of income or assets available to that individual and may cause them more harm than good.

"Proper estate planning is important for the disability community. If done incorrectly, government benefits can be lost," said Philipps, who is an attorney at Resch, Root, Philipps, & Graham, an estate planning firm with a focus on helping people with disabilities and their families.

The book is an update and overhaul on a previous book released by the Ohio DD Council and includes changes to Medicaid, Trusts, and incorporates the new STABLE Account option available to individuals with disabilities.

"The goal of the book is to provide a non-technical explanation of what benefits are out there and to ensure how the individual or family member can keep them," added Root, who is also a parent of a child with a disability.

Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council, said the book was important because it illustrates how a lack of a plan can cause problems for a loved one with a disability.

"Every time a person with a disability or a family member is asked about a new program, their first question is always, 'how will this affect my current benefits'," said Knight. "Logan and Bill have done a masterful job of explaining these complex options in a way that families and individuals can understand."

Download, listen or request a booklet

Copies of Planning for Bright Tomorrows: Estate and Future Planning for Ohioans with Disabilities and Those Who Love Them can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council at 614-466-5205 or 1-800-766-7426 or DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov. Electronic versions and an audio version of the book are also available on the Council's website.


Be a Changemaker - Join Ohio DD Council!

Graphic with the words Call for Council MembersThe Ohio DD Council is now recruiting new membership for the following categories:

  • Individual with a developmental disability,
  • Parent or guardian of a child with a developmental disability, and
  • A representative from a private non-profit organization serving persons with developmental disabilities.

If you are interested in becoming a member, go to the New Member Application page for more information. You may apply online or download documents to complete and mail to our office.

Deadline to apply is May 31, 2019.


About Council: Ohio DD Council and the Ohio DD Network

In every state and territory, programs authorized by the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) empower individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to help shape policies that impact them. The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is under the Administration on Community Living, oversees these programs. The programs are:

  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (Councils)
  • State Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As)
  • University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDDs)

The Council, P&A, and UCEDD programs are often referred to as a state’s “DD Network.” The Network works together to improve outcomes for people with developmental disabilities and their families to access needed services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and inclusion in all areas of community life.

The following programs make up Ohio’s DD Network:

Although each program has its own requirements through the DD Act, all collaborate with each other for the same overall purpose. For example, a representative from each of the Ohio DD Network partner organizations serves as a voting member on DD Council.

Learn more about the DD Act and its programs from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.