DD Council Connection - January 2018

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerWelcome to the January 2018 edition of the DD Council Connection newsletter!

DD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to introduce to you our Council members, grantees, staff and entire statewide community of self-advocates and others who work tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:

DD Awareness & Advocacy Day coming in March

Celebrate CommUNITY - DD Awareness & Advocacy Day will be held Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus. Registration is now open. Don’t miss out because spaces are limited and this event always fills up fast!

DD Advocacy and Awareness Day logo

This annual community and advocacy event, sponsored by the Ohio Providers Resource Association (OPRA) and the Ohio DD Council, offers a great opportunity to meet legislators, fellow advocates and other self-advocates who are all working to make Ohio a better place for people with developmental disabilities.

To register, you must have an email address. If you don't have one, you can use a family, advocate or co-worker's email address. Duplicate email addresses cannot be used - each registrant must have their own unique email address.

To register: Click here to register for DD Awareness and Advocacy Day

Questions? Contact Shane Schaefer of the DD Awareness & Advocacy Day Planning Committee at 614-224-6772 or sschaefer@opra.org. And you can follow event updates on the DD Awareness & Advocacy Day Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OhioDDAwareness/.

Ohio DD Council updates its "Guardianship in Ohio" booklet

Cover of the Guardianship in Ohio booklet

The Ohio DD Council has updated Guardianship in Ohio, a booklet that offers a comprehensive overview of guardianship and alternatives in Ohio. The information is written for families who have a child with a developmental disability but may be relevant for others who need to navigate the often confusing and intimidating world of probate court and guardianship.

Logan Philipps and Bill Root, principal attorneys with Resch, Root & Philipps, LLC, are the authors of this booklet, supported by funding from the Ohio DD Council.

Download the book here: http://ddc.ohio.gov/Portals/0/guardianship2017.pdf 

Hard copies are also available upon request - call the DD Council office at 614-466-5205 to place an order.

Grant Spotlight: General Assembly Briefing Sessions (GAB Sessions)

The game of Euchre is a wildly popular card game in the Midwest. It’s a simple game that is incredibly hard to explain. Once a new player has learned the rules of the game, they can then begin to learn the strategies that teams develop over time. If you’ve ever tried to teach this game to a new person, you know that you’re in for a long explanation of a simple set of rules.

Now, imagine trying to explain something much more complicated, like our system of services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. Throw in three levels of government and various programs, like Medicaid and Social Security, and add super-confusing funding streams, eligibility determinations, and various residential or employment or educational settings, and the rules of euchre would be considered child’s play.

Yet, we have been asking self-advocates, family members and other stakeholders in the developmental disabilities system to explain the need for changes to this complex system to policymakers who often do not have a working knowledge on how these systems operate. A cursory review of the turnover rate of legislators and staff in the Ohio General Assembly found that 80% of legislative staff are new every four years. Due to term limits, institutional knowledge is being lost.

Photo by Matt Reese Photography © 2018
Photo of the audience at a GAB session

In 2017, the DD Council developed a new project designed to improve the institutional knowledge of legislators and staff, specifically about how services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities are delivered. The General Assembly Briefing Sessions (GAB Sessions) are designed to provide legislators and their staff with a base of knowledge about developmental disabilities services and supports.

This new grant, awarded to Colby & Company, has already conducted four GAB Sessions in project year 2017. Sessions are held at lunchtime on a Friday and feature three speakers on a specific topic related to the developmental disabilities field. In the first year, topics have included the role of the state, county board and private providers, a review of the different Home and Community Based Services Waivers for individuals with developmental disabilities, a session on the different employment programs and opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities, and a presentation on the role of direct support professionals and the current marketing plan developed for job seekers in that field.

Feedback received from legislative staff has been incredibly positive.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the program and the panelists provided important insight into DD issues,” said one reviewer. “Panels like this are incredibly helpful, and the format and timetable were appropriate.”

Another participant stated,

“The panelists did an excellent job. I especially appreciated the perspective of having someone who has participated in some of these programs on the panel.”

One legislative staff person said,

“Personally, I love these briefings! I feel like the content has been varied and the speakers have all had different roles and perspectives within the topics.”

Attendance at each session has grown and the participation of the staff continues to increase. All legislators and staff are invited to each session. The next GAB Session will focus on accessible housing options in Ohio.

It's time to "Fix The List"

Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families have made it clear: our state's waiver waiting list needs work. That is why the Ohio DD Council joined a coalition of people with developmental disabilities, family members, and organizations representing guardians, county boards, and providers who believe it's time to Fix The List.

People with developmental disabilities and their families have repeatedly told us that Ohio's waiting list for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers is overly complex and in need of simplification. The current waiting list confuses people with developmental disabilities and their families, misleads advocates, and hinders efforts by policymakers to direct resources to where they are needed most.

In 2014, the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center under sponsorship of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council examined Ohio's waiting list and produced a study which included the results of their extensive research. This study was the first of its kind in Ohio and has been used to inform our decisions as we Fix The List. You can download the study here: http://ddc.ohio.gov/Portals/0/waiting-list-study-2-21-14.pdf

Through the efforts of this coalition and informed by the feedback of people with developmental disabilities and their families, we believe that a new approach to the way Ohio's HCBS waiver waiting list operates is needed. It's time to Fix The List.

For more information:Fix the List logo

The following are the Fix The List coalition members:

  • Advocacy and Protection Services, Inc. (APSI)
  • The Arc of Ohio
  • Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB)
  • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
  • Ohio Developmental Disabilites Council
  • Ohio Olmstead Taskforce
  • Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA)
  • Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA)
  • Ohio Superintendents of County Boards of Developmental Disabilites
  • People First of Ohio
  • The YMCA

Take the Project Open House Survey!

Project Open House (POH) is a project housed at the University of Toledo and funded by the Ohio DD Council. The goal of the project is to improve access to high-quality, inclusive child care for young children with disabilities and their families. The University of Toledo needs your help to achieve that goal!

Parents of young children with disabilities and childcare professionals who provide childcare to young children with disabilities are encouraged to take this survey. Before you take the survey, please review the survey consent forms:

Take the survey here: https://utoledoir.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a2W8qyrvaSNmWkR

Deadline to take the survey is February 28, 2018.

If you would prefer to complete a hard copy of the survey, please call 1-833-POH-SURV and provide your name and contact information.