Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council Public Policy Platform
The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council and similar Councils in all 50 states are established by PL 106--402 to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services and supports that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life. The Councils are charged with accomplishing this work through advocacy, capacity building, and systems change activities. The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council advocates on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, but more importantly, provides leadership training and other resources that assist individuals with developmental disabilities and families in becoming effective legislative advocates for themselves and others.
The Council's Legislative Priorities:
While the Council follows all legislation and policies that may affect the lives and services of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, the following are the Council's priorities:
- Transition individuals from nursing homes and habilitation centers to the community;
- Increase the availability of individual and family supports for people with developmental disabilities living in the community, and
- Continue implementation of the Olmstead Decision in Missouri.
- Promote jobs that occur at typical businesses that pay at least minimum wage, where people with and without disabilities work with one another and have the same benefits, responsibilities and expectations;
- Work to make State Government a model employer of persons with disabilities;
- Employment of persons with disabilities should be a part of the State Workforce Development Plan as outlined in A Better Bottom Line (PDF) by the National Governor's Association (NGA Report), and
- Disability employment policy should be part of the Missouri Workforce Integrated Plan and the Missouri Workforce Investment Board's Strategic Plan that is also recommended in the NGA report.
- Support changes to Missouri guardianship law so that families and individuals have more flexibility with regard to the level of control a person with a disability has over his or her own life.
State Public Policy Collaborations & Coalitions include:
The Congress on Disability Policy: The Congress is a broad-based coalition of Missouri associations and councils that represent people with disabilities, their families, community providers and others. Our membership started in 2003 with 16 statewide organizations with over 10,000 individual or organization members who provide services and support to over 100,000 Missourians with disabilities. Our purpose is to "advocate for an enhanced quality of life for Missourians with disabilities and their families by identifying common values that drive shared policy positions." We are committed to bringing about positive change for Missourians with disabilities through education, advocacy, and action. In support of this purpose we identify policy positions that are shared by our membership. Other Congress resources: Congress on Disability Policy 2005 White Paper (PDF) and Congress on Disability Policy Purpose & Operating Guidelines (PDF). If your organization would be interested in joining the Congress on Disability Policy, please contact 800-500-7878.
The Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform: The Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform is comprised of individual advocates and disability organizations who share the common mission to proactively improve and assure access to quality health care for Missourians with disabilities. We believe that access to comprehensive health care is crucial to the independence, dignity, and equality of all people, including people with disabilities. The DCHR advocates for accessible health care that is affordable, located in the individual's community, free of physical and communication barriers and provided in a timely manner. If you are an advocate, a family member or disability organization interested in becoming a member of the DCHR , or if you are an ally and would like to partner with us, please contact Paraquad Center for Independent Living: Sarah Durbin (314-289-4220) for more about the Coalition and the process for membership.
Disability Rights Legislative Day: The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council participates in the planning for this yearly event that takes place in March at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. The primary purpose 12 years ago, and still today, is to gather Missourians with disabilities, family members and those who care about them at the Capitol to hear from legislators, and most importantly, to talk to legislators about issues impacting their lives each and every day. We aim to increase awareness among legislators that all people with disabilities simply want what all people want: The possibility to pursue hopes and dreams throughout life with dignity and respect. Please check back frequently for updates on the 2014 Disability Rights Legislative Day at 800-500-7878.
The Council supports opportunities for individuals who are leaders to provide leadership training to other individuals with developmental disabilities. We also must support and expand participation of individuals with developmental disabilities in cross-disability and culturally diverse leadership coalitions.
The Council believes that individuals, parents, and family members are the most powerful forces in forging a responsive and flexible support network for people with developmental disabilities. The Council is proud to be involved in many advocacy organizations across the state. We believe that grassroots input and advocacy are essential to create systems of support and public policy that meet the needs of individuals and families. We believe that advocates and family members are truly the experts when it comes to what they need and how. Many graduates of Partners in Policymaking go on to successfully lead advocacy efforts locally in their communities and with statewide organizations and coalitions. A sampling of those is below. Please consider becoming involved with an advocacy group... there is power in numbers and your voice deserves to be heard.
Advocacy Group Links:
Want your group to be listed or want to know more about how to get involved, contact 800-500-7878.
Council Policies & Positions:
Fact Sheet on Cost of Institutions (PDF)
Position Statement on Habilitation Centers (May 2010) (PDF)
Principles for Closure of Missouri Habilitation Centers (March 2005) (PDF)
Public Statement on Abuse & Neglect (April 2006) (PDF)
Policy Links & Resources:
Federal Policy Fact Sheets:
Find Your US Senator and Representative:
Find your US Senator and Representative here: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
The Olmstead Decision:
In July 1999, the Supreme Court issued the Olmstead v. L.C. decision. The Court's decision in that case clearly challenges Federal, state, and local governments to develop more opportunities for individuals with disabilities through more accessible systems of cost-effective community-based services. The Olmstead decision interpreted Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its implementing regulation, requiring States to administer their services, programs, and activities “in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” The ADA and the Olmstead decision apply to all qualified individuals with disabilities regardless of age.
Efforts in Missouri have included 2 Commissions appointed by the Governor to develop and implement Missouri's comprehensive plan. The 15 member Home and Community Based Services and Consumer Directed Care Commission issued Missouri's plan in December 2000. This plan included an inventory of available services; budget action, federal action and statute changes; the agency responsible for implementing each recommendation and a FY 2001 and FY 2002 timeline for each recommendation. It issued 76 recommendations including those related to caregiver compensation, housing, transportation, informed choice, consumer and family directed care, making the transition to independence and Medicaid eligibility.
On April 10, 2001 Governor Holden issued an Executive Order establishing the Personal Independence Commission to implement the recommendations of the original commission and advance Missouri's compliance with the Supreme Court decision.
The Personal Independence Commission submitted its first annual Report to Governor Holden on October 31, 2002. PIC Commission results to date include; an action plan to include timelines, deliverable products, and monthly progress updates on priority issues, an informed choice curriculum that includes a community resource guide outlining all available community services that help people with disabilities and seniors stay in homes and communities of their choice, demonstration projects ready to be awarded to community groups to help identify best practices and innovative ideas to better serve people with disabilities and seniors in the community, and adopting work groups to do the detail work and action steps to implement recommendations.
Although the PIC Commission's research and analysis is ongoing, the group has identified issues that need to be addressed for Missouri to achieve its goal of full community integration for people of all ages and disabilities.
- Money “following” the individual. Mo became the first state in the nation to include Olmstead related language in the Medicaid budget that allows for flexible funding. Based on public testimony and personal knowledge, Commission members have identified gaps in the system and changes that need to occur to achieve the full intent of the Medicaid budget language.
- The State needs an option for people who may not be able to direct their own services but could designate someone to direct their services on their behalf. There are gaps in the continuum of community options that prevent some people with certain types of disabilities from having access to community options. There should be elements of choice and flexibility across all community options.
- There is a need for a clear process to inform residents of options, identify who is interested in moving to the community and refer people to the appropriate agencies or organizations that will help plan a smooth transition.
- There is a need for a consistent, uniform waiting list tracking system so that it is clear how many people are on waiting lists, how long they have been on the waiting list and the barriers to moving off the waiting list.
- We need to improve inter-agency coordination. This would include creating a universal application form that only has to be processed once rather than application procedures for each department.