The Department of BHDDH, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), will be holding two open community forums in February 2017. The first forum is specifically for individuals and families involved with self-directed supports and the second one for all other persons.
The Forums are typically held quarterly. They are an opportunity for people with disabilities, families, advocates, providers and other interested persons to meet with the director and leadership staff from the department, hear about updates on different policies, topics and various initiatives. It is also an opportunity for you to provide some feedback and ask questions.
Please save the following dates and times. You can click here to check for updates on the BHDDH website.
February 6, 2017 – Self-Directed Individuals and their Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Cranston Senior Center
1070 Cranston Street
February 9, 2017 – All Other Individuals and Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
North Providence Senior Center
2 Atlantic Blvd
North Providence, RI
The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) has scheduled its Annual Meeting for Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick from 8:30 am-4:00 pm. The primary focus is to discuss strategies for building a statewide Family Advocacy Coalition in RI. The Council has invited two prominent individuals currently involved with oversight and implementation of RI’s 2014 Federal Consent Decree.
Charles Moseley, the U.S. District Court Monitor for the RI Consent Decree, and Jennifer Wood, Deputy Secretary, RI Office of Health and Human Services (OHHS), are the Guest Speakers for the Council’s Annual Meeting. Chas Moseley and Jennifer Wood will speak about the Consent Decree, changes made and planned for in the DD system and within the State Department of BHDDH, and key steps to establish an effective statewide family advocacy coalition for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in RI.
By Gina Macris
Jennifer Wood, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, the top aide and top lawyer to Secretary Elizabeth Roberts, and a former chief of staff at the state Department of Education is orchestrating an effort to usher in a new era for Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
And she’s creating a brand new management team to help her do it, including Brian Gosselin, a veteran of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, to serve as Chief Strategy Officer.
Since January, when a federal judge agreed to oversee Rhode Island’s compliance with a consent decree, Wood has emerged at the forefront of the state’s response to the court case.
The Cross Disability Coalition has been working on the development of a Speakers Bureau to provide education/training on various topics to different audiences including people with disabilities, families, advocates, agency administrators and support staff, employers and the public.
“Public Education” and “Leadership Development” are two of the Priority Areas of the Coalition. The other two areas are “Employment” and “Accessibility”.
Coalition staff Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Deanne Gagne and Jack Ringland identified Members who had an interest in the various topic areas. People met and talked about information that would be important to include. Individual Powerpoint presentations with handouts were developed for each topic area (see the flyer below) with support from DDC Staff Sue Babin and Kevin Nerney. Specific Speakers from the Coalition were then identified for each presentation.
The presentation topic areas include:
- “You Are NOT Alone!” (Bullying)
- “Life Is Good!” (What does “Independence, Productivity, Integration/Inclusion, and Self-Determination” mean to people with disabilities?)
- “Employment Can WORK For You!”
- “Let’s Talk About Money” (Financial Education)
- “Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships and Keeping Safe”
- “Understanding My Human Rights”
- “Invest in Hiring People with Disabilities”
- “Sexual Abuse Awareness”
- “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act)” (Tax Free Savings Accounts)
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Person Centered Planning (“What is Person Centered Planning and HOW Can I Run My Own Meeting?”)
The RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the Cross Disability Coalition have worked collaboratively to develop this Speakers Bureau. We are very pleased with the presentations and proud of the work completed!
The Council has provided initial funding to support the start-up of the Speakers Bureau and payment to members for presentations made.
For more specific information on any of these topic areas or if you would like to have any of these presentations scheduled for a special event, group, meeting or your agency or organization, contact:
Special Projects Coordinator, RIDDC
By Gina Macris
When she became director of Rhode Island’s developmental disability agency in February, 2015, Maria Montanaro inherited a budget with no relation to actual costs that was destined to run a deficit.
She had to work with a state-run system of group homes resistant to change, which she said exists to preserve jobs and not to serve clients.
And she had virtually no high-level staff to form the leadership team necessary to move forward on compliance with the 2014 federal consent decree that requires Rhode Island to transform its services for adults with disabilities from segregated programs to integrated, community-based supports.