During the early part of the planning process, the GCDD’s Council members identified the need to better market the agency, its name and its product as a top priority. The Council currently publishes several publications whose outcome is to provide people with the information necessary to make informed decisions about their lives and advocate for changes in the system. Making a Difference and Public Policy for the People are sent to over 3500 individuals through the mail, e-mail and the Internet. The GCDD’s website continues to be a tool that people can use to find information. The GCDD staff consistently meets with members of the media to respond toquestions and pitchstories. In addition, media roundtables are held when the Council’s quarterly meeting is held in sites other than Atlanta.
The GCDD’s priority for Real Influence is to increase awareness of the Council’s activities and promote initiatives supporting its goal and mission. Advocates throughout the state look to the GCDD as a leader in assisting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to become better advocates and have the skills need to support initiatives throughout the State. In addition, the Council has worked in coalition to educate elected officials about the needs of persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Leadership provided during the General Assembly has resulted in increased funding and passage of legislation that continues to move the State in the right direction. With the upcoming reauthorization of the Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights and Assistance Act, the need to develop the same kinds of relationship with federal legislators is very apparent. The GCDD priority is to support coalitions and advocates in promoting coherent public policies for integrated life in the community for people with developmental disabilities and the people who support them.
GCDD Supported Efforts
Advocacy Day at the Capitol - A week before Disability Day, approximately 60 people come to meet with their legislators to draw attention to their issues. They receive training and assistance in locating their legislator and in telling their story.
Make Your Voices Heard: Dawn Alford, planning and public policy develepment specialist, participated with Rep. Pat Gardner in a webinar hosted by Parent 2 Parent. The video looks at how you can reach out to your local representatives to talk about the issues most important to you.
Media Roundtables - As the GCDD moves around the state to host its quarterly Council meetings, one component is to hold a media roundtable in those locations. The Media Roundtables are usually held at the Chamber of Commerce. Newspaper, radio and television media representatives are invited to attend. Valerie Meadows Suber, Public Information Director, and Eric Jacobson, GCDD Executive Director, serve as hosts. There are usually a few family members and advocates who come to share what the local issues or concerns are. Materials about using People First Language are distributed. The media is encouraged to come and cover the Public Forum that is held the next night.
GCDD Public Policy Initiatives
Medicaid Buy-In - Promote changes to the Medicaid Buy-in funding structure to enable more individuals with disabilities and personal assistance needs to take advantage of the program.
Tax Expenditure Report - The GCDD signed on to support the catalog of tax breaks and incentives awarded to businesses by legislators each year in order to assess their cost benefit to the state budget.
Respectful Language - The GCDD signed on with the ARC of Georgia to support the removal of words like moron, imbecile, retarded, idiot, from the Official Code of Georgia.
Other Partners and Resources
Unlock the Waiting Lists!
All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD)
The ARC of Georgia
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities