In November’s CDCI Connects Newsletter, we took a brief look at the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act for short). The DD Act is what makes it not just possible but actually required for Centers like CDCI to exist in every US state and territory. University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities are only a part of this authorization. There is also a mandate for every state to have a Protection and Advocacy Agency as well as a Developmental Disabilities Council. We like to think of it as three sisters or three legs of a stool that together hold up the principles of the DD Act.
This month, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the other legs: Vermont’s Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council). The DD Council’s main focus is to advocate for policy change. It is a statewide board headed by Council Director Kirsten Murphy and least 60% of its members identify as self-advocates or family caregivers. This board works to address critical issues that affect people with developmental disabilities and their families.
DD Council’s Core Beliefs:
- With opportunities, people grow and share their dreams and talents.
- Communities are stronger when all people have a voice and are heard with respect.
- The humanity that we share is more important than the differences in our abilities.
The DD Council also sponsors events like next month’s Disability Awareness Day at the Vermont Statehouse. This event, taking place on February 27 in Montpelier, provides the opportunity for self-advocates and family members to engage with local policymakers.