Our work is driven by a five-year plan, which offers a framework for Council members and staff as they choose projects, initiatives, and activities to support Arizonans with developmental disabilities. A main highlight of the plan is a list of specific goals that guide and focus our work over the five-year period.
Check out our 2021 Workplan here.
Our current plan focuses on three goal areas: community inclusion, employment, and self-advocacy.
Our goals and objectives for 2017-2021 are:
Goal 1 – Self-Advocacy/Self-Determination
We aim to establish, strengthen, and expand self-advocacy activities among people with developmental disabilities so they will become empowered to be self-determined.
Objective 1: The Council will support or collaborate on at least three initiatives or policies that remove barriers and facilitate the ability of self-advocates to have their voices heard and acted up, so they are able to express themselves, make decisions for themselves, and be protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Objective 2: The Council will support the participation of people with I/DD in cross-disability, culturally diverse leadership coalitions, groups, and civic and political life, which addresses issues of importance to persons with I/DD.
Objective 3: The Council will establish and promote the success of one or more collaborative, culturally competent self-advocacy coalitions that are led by individuals who have I/DD and that includes representatives of unserved/underserved populations, by providing funding, technical assistance, and supports.
Objective 4: The Council will expand opportunities for self-advocates to be their own guardians through limited guardianships and supported decision-making.
Goal 2 – Employment
We will increase awareness of the employment potential of people who have developmental disabilities, link them to resources needed to achieve their employment potential, and foster job creation, hiring, retention, promotion, and self-employment.
Objective 1: In collaboration with self-advocates, DD network partners, Employment First Core Team, professionals who provide support, and stakeholders, Arizona will become an Employment First State through the development, implementation, and promotion of policies and practices that support integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Objective 2: Increase the array of quality life, job, and technical skills training required for competitive employment, including self-employment for people with disabilities; promote education, credentialing and professional development for employment consultants and job developers.
Objective 3: Promote job creation, hiring, retention, entrepreneurship, and employment awareness best practices to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
Goal 3 – Inclusion
We want to motivate communities to include people of all ages who have developmental disabilities in every aspect of community life by supporting programs, changing policies/procedures, and removing systemic barriers to maximize self-determination and diminish discrimination, neglect, abuse, and exploitation.
Objective 1: In coordination with the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities, the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Network, and Raising Special Kids, lead the effort to build a Statewide Community of Practice (COP) that drives system change towards more inclusive culturally and linguistically competent processes and policies across Arizona (This is part of a 5-year project funded by Georgetown University).
Objective 2: Increase inclusion and build communities of support for people of all ages who have developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges or who are experiencing a crisis through outreach, education, and system change by working in collaboration with people with developmental disabilities, their families, schools, first responders, other stakeholders, and communities, including tribal communities.
Objective 3: Identify and decrease barriers to community life for people who have developmental disabilities through their lifespan by targeting community members, families, and individuals with DD through outreach, education, linkage to community resources, and community engagement activities that promote inclusion.
How are the goals selected?
In 2015, Council staff began collecting data and interviews from people with developmental disabilities, along with family members and community partners, with the help of Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Public input from online surveys and community forums in nine cities and towns further rounded out the official plan.
Feedback from the forums helps the Council in its role of awarding money and contracts to launch innovative and new approaches to tackling problems and barriers facing Arizonans with developmental disabilities and the caregivers who support them.
Combined with a 173-page Comprehensive Review and Analysis report compiled from additional interviews and focus groups across Arizona, the comments helped identify three areas of focus: employment, empowering people to advocate for themselves, and full inclusion in the community.
Are there specific groups the Council hopes to reach?
There is a special focus in the 2017-2021 period on projects targeting Arizona demographic groups and rural communities identified in our research as particularly overlooked.