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Press Releases from 2022

Governor Appoints Three to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

PDF version of Press Release

August 22, 2022 (Columbus) – On Friday, Governor Mike DeWine appointed three new members to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council). The Council, one of 55 state and territorial councils created under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, meets quarterly to develop, approve and provide monitoring and oversight of the state’s 5-Year Plan on Developmental Disabilities.

Krystal Albright of Paulding County was appointed to a 3-year term to replace Rachel Rice, a member of the Council whose untimely passing in June created a vacancy on the Council. Albright is a member of People First of Ohio, Project STIR and Golden Road to Success, a Paulding County self-advocacy group.

Asked why she wanted to be a member of the Council, Albright said, “I grew up in a family that believes in giving back to the community. I feel like this would be a perfect fit for me. I like volunteering and doing what I can to help others and make things better for them.”

Morgan Deavers, a resident of Perry County, was also appointed to a 3-year term, replacing Dara Walburn. Deavers, a Community Supports Facilitator for the Perry County Board of Developmental Disabilities, presents in various capacities to schools and self-advocacy groups in Perry, Guernsey, Muskingum, and Morgan Counties.

Deaver’s emphasized the need for membership from rural counties, stating, “Our field is ever-changing and the needs of rural counties are very unique as compared to an urban area. I believe that my being on the council can help shed some light on how disabilities in a rural county work and what we as a council could do to make sure all people, regardless of where they live, have the best possible opportunities to be successful.”

DeWine also named Jennifer Kucera, a resident of Cuyahoga County, to fill the slot vacated by Jean Jakovlic. This seat on Council is reserved for individuals or family members of individuals with developmental disabilities who currently or previously lived in an institutional setting.

Kucera, a self-employed math tutor, said, “Being on this Council has been a dream of mine for numerous years. I’ve been on this Earth since before the ADA was even an idea. I truly would love to make this world a better place for people with disabilities to live in.”

Individuals and family members who are appointed to the Council serve 3-year terms and are eligible to be reappointed to a second term. The Council seeks applications from new members all-year round. If you, or someone you know, would like to serve on the Council, a new-member application can be completed online at https://ddc.ohio.gov/member-application

Statewide Disability Council Debuts New Brand and Website

PDF version of Press Release

Columbus, OH (June 22, 2022) — The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has unveiled a new brand and website to build upon its growing influence across the state for people with developmental disabilities and their families. 

Using a fresh burgundy and blue palette, the colors emphasize the strong mission of the Council to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life. The new brand and website also continues to make accessibility and ease of use for the people it serves and the community at large at the forefront of its work.

The new logo and website can be viewed here. Additional rebranded logos include the Council’s advocacy work through its podcast Ohio DD Talks, Ohio DD Council Digest, and the DD Council Connection newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter and other information, register here.

Additionally, the Ohio DD Council will be moving to a new location in June. The Council’s new offices will be at 1810 Sullivant Ave., Columbus, OH 43222. The office phone numbers will remain the same: 614-466-5205 or 800-766-7426.

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion.

Statewide Disabilities Council Issues Notice of Funds Available for Several New Projects

PDF version of Press Release

June 9, 2022 (Ohio) — The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council issued a Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) for a three new grant project opportunities. The NOFAs are for a Federal Legislative Advocacy Partnership, Inclusive Sports and Public Policy Research grants. 

Federal Legislative Advocacy Partnership

This project will coordinate a team of Ohioans with disabilities, family members, and professionals from collaborating organizations to travel to Washington DC to receive briefings on federal policy impacts on Ohio specifically and to meet with Congressional offices to report on Ohio-specific data. Individuals representing the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council and other organizations will participate in a one-day session of briefings and will meet with their Congressional offices as a team.

This project will provide support for meeting-related expenses for all attendees. Meeting related expenses are to include cost of meeting space, equipment rental, and other costs associated with conducting training sessions. 

Public Policy Research Grants

The Data and Policy Research Grant is established to support the collection and analysis of data that will provide Council, advocates and policymakers with objective research and findings that promote systemic change and capacity building to improve services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Issue items for each study conducted under this grant, including parameters and scope, will be identified by Council Issue Committees and communicated to the grantee by Council’s Public Policy Committee. Studies and analyses sought by Council may include, but not be limited to, Employment, Housing, Waivers, Transportation, Education, Higher Education, Health, and Community Supports.

Inclusive Sports

Students with disabilities experience significant barriers when attempting to access health and wellness activities. Typical barriers include:

  • Individuals aiding individuals with disabilities lack awareness on how to involve them on teams.
  • There are few opportunities and programs for training and competition for students with disabilities.
  • Facilities are often not accessible.
  • Information and services that promote health and wellness are not designed to consider the preferences and needs of youth with disabilities.  
  • To assist youth with disabilities to participate in sports in the way they want and with whom they want to participate, ODDC will support a project that will create and/or expand opportunities for youth with disabilities to participate in an inclusive sport program.  

Applications for these projects are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, July 1, 2022. Each project is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2022 and run until September 30, 2023. 

Read the full text of each NOFA to learn about the intent and scope of each project and how to apply. A complete description of the projects, known as the State Plan Language, is included as part of the NOFA on www.ddsuite.org

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion.

New Transportation Report Shows Impact of COVID-19, Need for Accessibility, & Improvements for Ohioans with Disabilities

January 21, 2022 (Ohio) — The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (the Council), in collaboration with the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center (GRC), has released the 2021 Transportation Accessibility for Ohioans with Disabilities Report.

Transportation is consistently cited as the number one unmet need of Ohioans with disabilities. The Council partnered with GRC to develop and conduct an accessible statewide survey to better understand transportation issues for Ohioans with disabilities. 

The goal of the 2021 study was to answer key questions about the current status of transportation accessibility for Ohioans with disabilities, identify any new transportation challenges related to COVID-19 and help inform transportation stakeholders and policy makers and determine needed steps to further improve accessibility.

The 2021 survey was open to all Ohio adults with one or more disabilities and all Ohio transportation providers. As a result, this follow-up study reached a diverse range of people with disabilities and transportation providers across all regions of Ohio.

Both participants with disabilities and transportation providers highlighted several main themes that would greatly improve transportation for Ohioans with disabilities. Please see the full report for a complete scope of responses and recommendations.

 Read the report: Transportation Accessibility for Ohioans with Disabilities - 2021 Report

This report is a follow up to the 2017 study focused on transportation challenges for Ohioans with disabilities. The study was aligned with the Council’s mission to create change that improves the independence, productivity, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families in community life.

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion.

About the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center: In 2008, The Ohio Council of Medical School Deans founded the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center (GRC) (http://grc.osu.edu/). Housed at The Ohio State University, GRC is a public university-based center for applied health policy research and technical assistance. GRC engages expert faculty and staff at Ohio's Colleges of Medicine and partners with state health and human services policymakers to improve the health and health systems for all Ohioans. GRC promotes health system transformation by: 1) linking expert faculty and staff with health and human services policymakers, 2) providing health and health service research, evaluation, and quality improvement management, 3) performing data system management, data analytics, and training in analysis of administrative data, 4) consulting in survey design, management, and evaluation, and 5) offering project development, management, and fiscal administration.

Press Releases from 2021

Governor Appoints New Members to Ohio DD Council

November 18, 2021 (Ohio) — Governor Mike DeWine has appointed six new members to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council), a federally designated organization whose mission is to create change that improves independence, productivity, and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life. The terms of the new members began November 12, 2021 and will end December 31, 2023.

The new appointees from across Ohio fill several open positions on the Council. They include:

  • JaVan Brown (Franklin County)
  • Molly Dible (Hancock County)
  • Isabel Ganz (Hamilton County)
  • Kari Jones (Franklin County)
  • Monica McCain (Lucas County)
  • Timothy Newell (Clark County)

In addition, the Governor re-appointed Matthew Harrison (Darke County) and Rhonda Rich (Miami County) for another Council term. 

“We are always pleased to welcome new members to the Ohio DD Council who bring new perspectives from their own experiences and from the communities they live in. Their input and work on Council will help us in our commitment of self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities throughout Ohio,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council.

The Ohio DD Council is one of a national network of state councils, which are federally designated through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. The Council has over 30 members of which 60 percent represent people with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities. The remaining members include representatives from state agencies, non-profit organizations and agencies providing services to people with developmental disabilities.

Governor Appoints New Chairperson to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

March 10, 2021 (Ohio) - Michael Denlinger, of Hamilton County, has been named Chairperson of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council by Governor Mike DeWine. During his tenure, Denlinger has served on nearly all the Council’s committees including Community Living, Employment, Leadership Development, among others.  

Denlinger, who has cerebral palsy, says he has always been a lifelong advocate for people with disabilities.  His focus is often on the areas of housing and transportation for people with disabilities. In addition, he has begun to work on an LGBTQ initiative. “I want the voices of those LGBTQ with disabilities to be equally represented, so all have a seat at the table,” Denlinger says. 

He also serves as the host of Ohio DD Council’s popular podcast “Ohio DD Talks”, a web series featuring stories and conversations of Ohioans with disabilities. In addition to his Council work, Denlinger is a member of the Housing Network of Hamilton County’s Board on Developmental Disabilities.

As Denlinger looks ahead to being chair of the Council, he says, “One thing I really want to do is to look at the counties in eastern and northeastern Ohio where people either don’t apply to be on the Council or don’t know about it. I’d like to see the Council create an outreach plan to invite people from all over the state to talk to us about advocacy work they’ve done in those underserved populations.”

Denlinger adds,” We are doing wonderful, revolutionary things [on the Council]. Our diversity and inclusion work with various ethnicities and with LGBTQ is making sure everyone is represented and heard. Being a Council member is a reward to me, allowing me to help others.”

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion.

Governor Appoints New Members to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

February 4, 2021 (Ohio) — Governor Mike DeWine has appointed three new members to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council), the state’s disability advocacy agency whose mission is to create change that improves independence, productivity, and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life. 

The new appointees from across Ohio fill several open positions on the Council. They include:

  • Annette L. Wood of Akron (Summit County)
  • John Banchy of Cincinnati (Butler County)
  • Jodi L. Young of Columbus Grove (Putnam County) 

In addition, the Governor re-appointed Pamela Green of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) for another Council term. 

“The experiences of these new members will help us in our commitment of self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities throughout Ohio,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council. “We are excited to welcome them to the Council.”

The Ohio DD Council is one of a national network of state councils, committed to self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. The Council has over 30 members of which 60 percent represent people with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities. The remaining members include representatives from state agencies, non-profit organizations and agencies providing services to people with developmental disabilities.

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion.

Ohio DD Council Seeks Public Comment on 2022-2026 Five Year State Plan

January 6, 2021 (Ohio) — The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) is seeking public comment on its Five-Year State Plan that will take effect from 2022-2026.

Based on survey results collected about the problems or needs of Ohioans with developmental disabilities, the Ohio DD Council drafted the 2022-2026 Five-Year State Plan. The State Plan lists the projects that the Council plans to fund to address the needs identified by people with disabilities, families and stakeholders across the state.

The DD Council is seeking public comment on proposed in the following areas:

  • Children and Health
  • Community Living
  • Employment
  • Leadership Development
  • Outreach
  • Public Awareness
  • Public Policy

Here's how you can submit your comments:

  • Review the draft Five-Year Plan by reading the Executive Summary of the projects; reading the entire 2022-2026 State Plan; or reviewing specific project(s) that interest you.
  • You can submit your comments on all projects or the ones that are of interest to you.

The comment period will end on February 28, 2021.

The Council's Five-Year State Plan is a strategic plan that will drive the Council’s mission to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life.

The State Plan, agreed upon by its Governor-appointed council members, will help in developing specific grant proposals toward relevant projects across Ohio that will positively impact people with developmental disabilities, family members and guardians and other stakeholders.

For more information, please contact Fatica Ayers at 614-466-5205 or 800-766-7426.