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 Moving Forward 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 to questions and pitch stories. In addition, media roundtables are held when the Council’s quarterly meeting is held in sites other than Atlanta.
The Council’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
"Voices Beyond the Mirror" Video Series - GCDD has created a series of public awareness video clips to mark the 40th Anniversary of the DD Bill of Rights Act of 1971 called “Voices Beyond the Mirror.” The video series provides a thoughtful look into the everyday realities of living with different types of disabilities. Click here to view the videos.
Moving Forward Newsletter - Moving Forward is a weekly publication that is produced during the legislative session to keep people informed about the budgets and bills that are being tracked. It does not editorialize. It just gives the facts. It is a useful tool to help citizens and elected officials keep up with the action at the Capitol. (View the archives.)
GCDD.org Website - GCDD has a newly launched interactive website that allows interested parties to find up-to-date information at their convenience. It provides information about GCDD, its projects, disability issues and much more. (www.gcdd.org)
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
Multi-Year Funding Plan - To encourage the legislature to pass a multi-year funding plan to project cost of services in the NOW/COMP waivers, ICWP, family support and provider reimbursement rates over the next five years.
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
Statewide Independent Living Council (www.silcga.org)
Unlock the Waiting Lists! (www.unlockthewaitinglists.com)
All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) (aadd.org)
The ARC of Georgia (www.thearcofgeorgia.org)
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (www.dbhddjobs.com/default.aspx)
Capitol Impact (www.capitolimpact.com)