Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council Partners in Policymaking

  • Are you a parent of a child with a disability or a person with a disability?
  • Would you like to see a barrier-free society where everyone is a valued member of their community?
  • Are you interested in promoting change within your community? Within the state?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might be interested in becoming one of a growing number of Missouri's Partners in Policymaking Graduates. Partners in Policymaking is a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with developmental disabilities.  The program teaches leadership skills and techniques to develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel and other individuals who make policy decisions about services that you and/or your family use.

In monthly sessions, you will have the opportunity to practice new skills in a comfortable and safe environment, build a network of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences, and then learn from national experts. Partners is about systems change – creating, working toward and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. This program is based on the belief that the most effective and enduring public policy decisions are made by the people who need and use services in partnerships with policymakers. It's about becoming confident in yourself, competent in the knowledge and information you'll receive, and comfortable in sharing the life experiences and expertise you bring to the program.

We accept applications during the fall of each year, with the new session beginning each February for the annual Partners in Policymaking classes. 

What is Partners?

Partners is a leadership training program designed for advocates and parents of young children with developmental disabilities. The program is based on a national model which began in Minnesota over 25 years ago. The goal of Partners is to develop productive partnerships between people who need and use services and those who are in a position to make policies and laws.

Partners graduates are in more of a position to help change these policies and laws through the knowledge they gain through participation in the program. They will have opportunities to meet and talk with national leaders in the developmental disabilities field, and become acquainted with and connected to organizations, opportunities, and endless possibilities.

The program provides information and the development of skills around current issues, state-of-the-art approaches and best practices, and policymaking and legislative processes at local, state and national levels.

What is my role as a partner?

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council is currently accepting applications from interested people for the 26th Partners class! The program is open to a limited number of people. If selected, the Council will pay for lodging and meals and reimburse participants for travel. Depending upon individual needs, respite and attendant care may also be reimbursed.

Participants will be expected to:

  • Make a commitment to attend eight two-day sessions between February and September 
  • Complete all homework assignments, to include one major project designed to meet competencies.

All sessions will begin at noon on Friday and conclude late on Saturday afternoon. This commitment is necessary to benefit fully from the training. Partners graduates agree that the commitment is well worth the life changes that result from the training program.

Attendance at ALL sessions is mandatory. Only individuals selected to participate in Partners in Policymaking will be able to attend.

What Topics will be Addressed?

  • History of Disability Movements: Parent, People First, Independent Living
  • Quality Education
  • Employment
  • Housing and Person Centered Planning
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Parliamentary Procedure: How to Take Control of Meetings
  • State/Federal Policy and Legislative Issues and the Process by Which You Can Channel Your Concerns
  • Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities
  • Community Organizing

Upcoming Events


July 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


July 19 @ 9:00 am - 2:30 pm


September 19 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


September 20 @ 9:00 am - 2:30 pm


November 14 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


November 15 @ 9:00 am - 2:30 pm

Ticket to Work Health Assurance Program Webinar

July 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm