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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Handbook

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to release The Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Handbook. This replication manual provides background information about the program and addresses the problem of bullying - the incidence of various types of bullying, academic studies showing the more immediate as well as the long-term effects of bullying, and comparisons between students with disabilities and students without disabilities.

Ambassadors for Respect, self advocates who experienced bullying, inspired the Anti-Bullying Program that was initiated in the St. Paul Public Schools in 2013.  Over the past four years, they have successfully led 38 training sessions for 1,010 fourth grade elementary school students and 45 classroom teachers in 12 schools. 

The Handbook provides details about the presentations – preparing for the training sessions, materials for activities, the on-site presentation process, take-aways for the students, and student surveys. Quality principles and a continuous quality improvement process are built into the program to measure its overall effectiveness, success in creating and reinforcing positive student attitudes, and reducing and eliminating bullying incidents.

Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Handbook
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(December 1, 2017)

Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Launches Legacy Project

With An Eye to the Past—Preserving Minnesota’s History about Developmental Disabilities

The State of Minnesota held a Grand Opening of the State Capitol the weekend of August 11 – 13, 2017. The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities was invited to present a "Hot Dish" panel about the history of developmental disabilities on Sunday, August 13, 2017. Colleen Wieck, Executive Director, began the panel with a brief review of the online archive "With An Eye to the Past," followed by presentations by Class 34 Partners in Policymaking® Graduate Justin Smith and former Senator David F. Durenberger. Senator Durenberger was a cosponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Justin Smith is a beneficiary of the ADA, our nation's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

These segments will be added to "With An Eye to the Future" as part of the Council's newly funded Legacy Project.

Justin Smith, Class 34 Partners in Policymaking® Graduate

Thank you for being here today. I cannot believe that I am here presenting with one of the authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a woman who has done so much to improve of the lives of people with disabilities, from helping to close institutions to starting the Partners in Policymaking Program. Thanks to assistive technologies like CART captioning, which makes it easier for me to hear, my communication device that helps me speak, and power wheelchair that helps me move, I can accomplish so much more and be so much more independent than if I had been born at an earlier time.

Let me tell you some stories about my experiences living with disability and my dreams for the future. Imagine a small group of high school students sitting around their computer in my bedroom. There is laughter, sharing ideas, [inaudible],the plan for our history class presentation. I have my section about civil rights, disability rights, and sports in the 1960s ready to add to the lengthy PowerPoint. Another student was creating a Jeopardy game and two guys were figuring out what we would wear.

For me, this was an experience I will always remember because we all contributed to the project in meaningful ways to get that A. I believe that we all learned a lot more about teamwork, respecting differences, helping others and knowing that each of us has so much to offer when working together towards a goal. This was inclusion at its best. Unfortunately, that rich group experience did not happen very often for me except for my church youth group where I was accepted and included like any other teenager.

I have had positive examples of accessibility and inclusion in the real world since graduating high school. My first was with my US history course at Century College last spring. My professor was outstanding. Course materials, presentations and business were online and accessible. He noted the class discussion questions ahead of time so I had time to program responses on my communication device. For one of the first times in my life, I could fully contribute my thoughts and ideas in class. I learned so much, not just about history but how one professor can make a positive impact and difference by just taking some extra time to be organized and think ahead of time about what I needed to be successful in his class.

As we move on carving out the future I hope that educators from preschool through college or other postsecondary options can keep finding the opportunities for meaningful inclusion to happen. The teacher in my 10th grade class and professor in my college history course both talked about how to make learning work for all students, even those of us with disabilities. We need more teachers and professors who embrace inclusion and think ahead of how to make it work for all of their students. These have been some of my experiences in the educational system.

What's next up and what do I imagine for my future? I imagine a future for myself as one where I choose where I want to live, who I want to hang out with, what I will do each day and how I contribute to making the world a better place, the decisions that many of you in this room may take for granted.

As I move through the halls of the Capitol today, I know that I will be spending a lot of time here as a disability rights advocate, volunteering for the Olmstead Community Engagement Workgroup, writing my blog, and speaking about accessibility and inclusion. I need help from the government services to live the life I imagine. I need 24-hour care to help me with all my basic personal cares.

Imagine that you have to depend on another person to give you a drink of water if you're thirsty, feed you if you're hungry and help to go to the bathroom when you need to go. It is important for people to realize that I can do what I do because I have the medical care, special equipment and support staff I need to help me with these things. I know that these issues have become very politically labeled which makes it even more important than ever to make my voice heard and for you to make your voices heard in our political process. Legislation that advocates have brought forth like the IDEA for education, Medicaid, the Olmstead Plan, and more all help me live an independent productive life in my community.

When I met and interviewed Dr. Wieck for one of my high school writing assignments, I remember her telling me what it was like for people with disabilities living in institutions. Her words made a lasting impact on me. She said when you treat people differently, when you treat someone like an animal, you will get an animal. You can imagine what my future could have been like had I been born at an earlier time. It's heartbreaking. I am thankful for all the advocates who have made it possible for me to have more options now.

I graduated from Partners in Policymaking this spring and have learned so much about becoming an effective advocate to continue creating positive change for people with disabilities. John Green writes in the book, Paper Towns, "Its easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined. We all want to be imagined complexly as the individuals we are, not held back because we look, move, think or speak differently."

I have the same hopes and dreams for my future that many of you aspire to. All of us are unique and face difficulties. There are many times when I feel like an outsider because I do not think people imagine me complexly or know what to say to me or how to talk to someone who uses a communication device. I expect that there are many of you here who have felt the same. I think that we still have a long way to go with inclusion in school, work and life. I want to have a longer list of examples to choose from for my positive inclusion experiences. It really should be more than a handful of positive examples in 19 years.

So what can we all do when we leave here today? Think and plan ahead to make sure people are included in meaningful ways. Go beyond the simple Minnesota nice "Hi. How are you?" and realize that I and others with disabilities have a lot to say and need people to take the time to listen.

Also, what I learned from Partners in Policymaking is the importance of showing up. Show up here and talk to your legislators. Show up to volunteer like I'm doing with the Olmstead Community Engagement Workgroup. Show up to vote. This Capitol belongs to all of us.

Above all, open your minds to new ideas, new people, and new experiences. It takes every one of us here today to choose the infinite possibilities to create a more inclusive society where we see value and dignity in all people.

Former US Senator David F. Durenberger

I didn't think anybody could top Colleen Wieck until Justin Smith. God bless him. Oh, man. I tell you. I've forgotten what I was going to say. These people are just way, way, way beyond unbelievable. I had a line that said,"Hi, I'm Dave Durenberger and I'm aging into my disabilities." But I am. I'm supposed to be in California but I've wrecked my left shoulder so I decided to stay home and be with you. But I'm so impressed and I'm also kind of choked up - I hope you can tell - because there is nothing like the gift of public service.

My son Charlie over here has been a public servant in the state of Minnesota for his whole, whole life. And I started here 50 years ago up in the Governor's office as Executive Secretary to Harold LeVander, and my learning curve began then and it's going today. It's just absolutely incredible what a gift it is to be in the profession of learning from other people. It's just amazing. And I have to say that to you because the impression you get from everybody in politics and government today is that they ain't learning anything. I mean my own party's spent seven years trying to wreck health reform by calling it repeal and replace. And they've spent six months trying to figure out what they mean. They have no idea what they're talking about. Why? Because not one of them has taken the time to master what you have mastered by your own experiences with people with developmental and other disabilities.

I found a picture that I showed Sarah, who's my oldest granddaughter, this morning. Oh, here it is. Here's a picture of the Senator with little Sarah. Little Sarah is like, in this picture, like a month old or something less than that. Now she's sitting back there, graduate of Bethel, and she's in one of the health professions.

The reason I thought I would show you this picture, and I just found it, is because on May 11 of 1994, the Senate was having its first hearing on the Clinton Health Reform bill. Long awaited. Hillary Clinton's in charge. The health reform bill. So we;re having the first hearing and Senator Ted Kennedy, the famous leader in health reform, is in the chair. And at some point in the program, he takes out his gavel. He notices that I've been going in and out periodically from the meetings. I'm the Republican on the committee. Nancy Kassebaum, my friend and colleague, is the chair and I'm the health guy on the committee. So I'm going in and out to the side room.

So the last time I come out I seem to have like tears in my eyes or something, and so the chairman hits the gavel like this. He said, "I want to call this hearing to recess. And I want to be the first in America to make this announcement. Today was born, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Sarah Marie Durenberger." And he gives her weight, he gives her height, and he said, "Now we know why Senator Durenberger's been kind of grouchy about this health reform." Can you believe that happening in today's United States Senate?

How did he know? I don't know, except that's who we were. We were friends. Our kids grew up together. We knew a lot more about each other than we probably thought we did. And one of the reasons was we learned to share experiences that were common to the people of our state, and those who could express those experiences with everyone else. And then you would find people just like you from another state who hadn't met people like Colleen or Justin or whoever it might be. And you'd start, okay, start coming closer and closer and closer together. And so it was a... it wasn't a magic moment. It's what the United States Senate was always intended to be. I can tell you, and I won't today, exactly what happened, how it's been torn down in the last 20-some years. I can tell you exactly why that has happened.

But it's not America. It's now who we are. It's not who we can be. It's not who Justin is. It's not who Colleen is. It's not who Mom and Dad are. It's not who any of us are, I don't think It's even the people in this building. They talk like it sometimes, but I don't think it's even them. They're living in communities just like we live in. Don't you think they hear the same thing? Don't you think they see the same thing? Don't you think they feel the same thing inside? They just haven't learned how to translate that into action, which is the gift of all the people in this room and the stories that you've heard today.

I sat here because...listening to Colleen's story because my wife Susan, who's on a plane to California today just finished a book that's going to be published next April by the Minnesota Press on how did Luther Youngdahl... was persuaded to take on these institutions... this institutionalization in Minnesota back in 1949. The victory in 1950, which was snatched away by real conservative Republicans in 1951... so he took a job in Washington as a federal judge and never came back and the whole movement started to go like this. And Susan captured in this book that Colleen was talking to you about, about who we are as Minnesotans. Who we were in 1940s, the heroes and heroines. And she captures a few of our prejudices.

Geri Joseph and Geri... what were they... Hofner. Yes, Geri Hofner was a brand-new reporter at the Minneapolis Tribune. She wanted to go to The New York Times. Can you imagine a woman at The New York Times? Wow, not in those days. But she was going to go to The New York Times.

They talked her into staying at the Tribune, they promised her this story. She went to see the Governor, and he said, "If you publish?" And she said, "I'm going to go into all seven institutions." And he said, "If you do and you publish stories, I'm going to have your job." Whew. So she goes back to her boss, Bower Hawthorne at the Trib, and he says, "Ah, forget it." So he goes with her, tells the Governor, "She's going to do these stories regardless," you know. "You'll get to see them before they go in the paper," but he can't change a word of it.

So she writes these stories. And a year and a half later she gets the highest reward for journalism in Minnesota from the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Why? Because it was a really good story, number two, and because they thought she was a he. Believe it or not, the Minnesota Newspaper Association thought Geri Joseph was a man. Okay. So we've come a long way. Right? We've got a long way to go. What happened yesterday in Charlottesville where Charlie went to school in Virginia is still happening all over America, you know? Yes, we have a long way to go. But we have built the capacity to get there. And not just in this room but in tens and hundreds of thousands of people in this state. Our capacity is still there. We are who we are. Our institutions are really unique institutions.

So that isn't exactly what I planned to say, but I'm going not to tell you the story of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It's been told and retold. I've got to tell you the greatest day in my life was that time in the third or fourth week in July sitting on the mall and watching with thousands of people as President George H. W. Bush came out to the podium and the band struck up "Hail to the Chief," whole bunch of people stood up and all you could hear in the place was, "Down in front! Down in front!" And I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was in the right place, "Down in front." Wow.

What a gift is public service. What a gift is the teaching profession, the point that Justin made. What a gift is any one of your opportunities, the fact that you're here today. And the question for all of is: What are we going to do with it? You know, are we waiting for somebody else to take the lead? You know, will we do it? When will we do it? How will we do it? How will we get started? So the future? And the last thing, because I was asked to make some reference to healthcare, I've been at this for 51 years too, which is a heck of a long time to say you didn't get any place because they're still doing R and R.

But, you know, every once in a while you come up against a crisis. When the biggest industry in America, a three-and-a-half-trillion dollar industry, is about to face the reality of wake up, find out what's wrong, and get it right. And Obamacare got most of it right. But Republicans spent seven years trying to belittle it and tear it down and make sure it didn't work. It's that simple. I'm saying that as a Republican.

It's that simple. It will work. It can work. And America is the place that it can work. Because we do believe... and I've got the data from your study back in Minnesota Citizens on Health Cost Containment that tells us that, by a fraction of 80 to 20, Minnesotans believe that it is our responsibility to make sure that all of us have access to high-quality healthcare, which only means it has to be affordable and it has to be effective. And the people that know how to do both are in the health professions today. We just need to change the incentives.

And a lot of us know what it takes to do that. Again, because it's the right thing to do. This is the right place to do it. Maybe the only place to do it. So thank you for the gift of being here today. And if there's anything I can do to add any dimension to anything I've said, I'd be glad to do it. Yeah.

With An Eye to the Past »

This work is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities thanks the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Minnesota Department of Administration for assistance on this Legacy Project feature.

(November 1, 2017)

Welsch v. Likins Class Action Lawsuit 45th Anniversary

August 30, 2017 marks the 45th Anniversary of the Welsch v. Likins class action lawsuit brought on behalf of six individuals with developmental disabilities, residents of six different Minnesota State Hospitals.

The Welsch Lawsuit, according to Luther Granquist, plaintiff counsel on the case

In 1972 Richard Welsch sought help from the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis for his daughter, Patricia Marie, a resident of Cambridge State Hospital. He told Neil Mickenberg, an attorney there, that Patricia was at that “hellhole” and wondered if Neil could do anything about it.

Welsch had heard that Mickenberg and Jeffrey Hartje, another Legal Aid lawyer, had been told by state hospital professional staff that Cambridge and Faribault State Hospitals were ripe for the kind of lawsuits that had been brought in other states. On August 30, 1972, with the support of The Arc Minnesota, they sued state officials charging that the residents at Cambridge, Faribault, and four other state institutions were denied their rights to habilitation and to live in less restrictive community settings.

The lawsuit lasted seventeen years. The trials in the 1970s centered on Cambridge State Hospital. A trial in 1980 involving Faribault, Moose Lake, Brainerd and Fergus Falls State Hospitals led to a settlement that included Rochester, St. Peter, and Willmar State Hospitals. Another settlement in 1987 led to a final dismissal of the case in 1989.

Photo from Welsch Lawsuit

In the early years, attorneys from the Minnesota Disability Law Center at Legal Aid focused on institutional conditions—lack of adequate staff, excess use of medication and restraint, and a deplorable living environment. In the 1980s, the focus was on moving people from the institution to community homes, with an emphasis as well on the quality of care provided persons discharged.

No court order or settlement agreement in the case required closing of the state institutions, but the court action coupled with funding under the home and community-based waiver, and a steadily growing commitment by state and county officials to provide community-based services, led to that result over the next eleven years.

A Brief History of the Welsch Case by Luther Granquist


Welsch Trial Photo Gallery  

Photographs from the 1973 trial (from With an Eye to the Past)

Photo Exhibits from Welsch

Welsch-related Interviews from With an Eye to the Past

Eleanor Welsch

Eleanor Welsch, mother of Patty Welsch, whose parents filed the landmark federal suit over lack of care at Cambridge State Hospital.
Part 1: The Beginning of the Welsch Case from a Mother’s Viewpoint
Part 2: The Cambridge Experience
Part 3: Group Homes are a “Godsend”

Luther Granquist

Luther Granquist, with Anne Henry, both of the Minnesota Disability Law Center, served as plaintiff counsel on the Welsch case.
Part 1: The 45th Anniversary of the Welsch Case Beginning
Part 2: Lack of Individual Assessment and Structured Activity at Cambridge

Anne Henry

Anne Henry of the Minnesota Disability Law Center, worked with Luther Granquist on the Welsch case.
Part 1: Restraint and Seclusion at State Hospitals
Part 2: Dehumanization Practices
Part 3: Getting Children Out of Institutions

View more interviews about this time period  


An Index of Documents Related to Welsch from With an Eye to the Past, including orders in that action in the federal district court and related documents.


The Disability Justice Resource Center has a summary of the lawsuit, the Welsch decision, and the Welsch Consent Decree.


Faribault State Hospital  

At a trial in the Welsch case in 1980 involving Faribault, Moose Lake, Brainerd, and Fergus Falls State Hospitals, the plaintiffs presented small black and white photos of the four institutions as part of their case. The defendants never presented their response, because they agreed to the Consent Decree the federal court issued in September 1980. They had, however, prepared a set of color photographs of the same scenes with some added commentary. 

Photos contributed to the Council by Mel Heckt.

Photo Exhibits from Welsch

2017 Minnesota Racial & Ethnic Survey of Attitudes Towards People with Developmental Disabilities

The 2017 General Population Survey of Attitudes Towards People with Developmental Disabilities includes representation from racial and ethnic communities. However, the Council was most interested in assuring that the insights and perspectives of members of these communities were heard. Additional outreach efforts were made in the Hispanic, American Indian, African American, East African, and Southeast Asian communities. The results are contained in this supplemental report.

View as Slides     View as PDF   View as Text Only

MN Racial and Ethnic Survey

2017 Minnesota General Population Survey of Attitudes Towards People with Developmental Disabilities

In 1962, a survey of the Minnesota general population was conducted to measure awareness and attitudes about developmental disabilities. The survey was updated and repeated in January 2007 (45 years post) and again in 2012 (50 years post). A 2017 survey was also conducted and the results are now available.

While attitudes changed dramatically between 1962 and 2007, those attitudes have remained unchanged over the past ten years. The 2017 study reveals that, for a majority of Minnesotans, the most important services provide access to quality, coordinated healthcare; and protection services to prevent the abuse of people with developmental disabilities. Over 70% of Minnesotans favor employment services, special education services and early childhood special education services. A majority also believe that the State should move away from corporate foster care by providing housing supports directly to individuals with developmental disabilities so they can choose where to live, their roommates, and their staff or providers.

View as Slides     View as PDF   View as Text Only

MN Survey

Human Trafficking of People with Disabilities

On April 4, 2017, the Diversity Committee, Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, University of Minnesota Law School Division, hosted a CLE event, a panel discussion of human trafficking of people with disabilities. United States District Court Judge Donovan Frank served as moderator for panel members who shared their professional experience with human trafficking, some of the history and evolving legal landscape, and rights and remedies for victims.

One of the panel members was Sarah Bessell, staff attorney at the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, DC. The Legal Center believes that every trafficking victim in the United States should have access to justice.

In this video interview, MS. Bessell identifies some of the types of abuses they are seeing including forced labor (sexual servitude), commercial sexual exploitation, and extreme violence and physical abuse. She presents case law examples involving people with disabilities and trends they are seeing in the types of trafficking.

Sarah Bessell

Partners In Policymaking® 30th Anniversary

1987 – 2017

In 1986, a new way of thinking demanded new leadership. Medicaid reform was the critical public policy issue. A Congressional hearing on September 19, 1986 ended with a young mother presenting testimony in favor of dramatic changes to Medicaid – changes that would keep families together and provide a range of services to support families with a child with developmental disabilities.

Communicating effectively with public officials could be taught. Self advocates and parents could learn how to best speak with their elected public officials and elected public officials could be educated about policies – in partnership with each other. At that moment, Partners in Policymaking® was born.

Read the full article...

Partners In Policymaking® 30th Anniversary
Partners In Policymaking® 30th Anniversary
Partners In Policymaking® 30th Anniversary
Partners In Policymaking® 30th Anniversary

View more photos from the event...

Partners in Policymaking 30th Anniversary Proclamation

With an Eye to the Past

The History of Deinstitutionalization in Minnesota

With an Eye to the Past

With With an Eye to the Past, was first presented on February 7, 2001 at a recognition event. This event was in celebration of the dedication and commitment of leaders across the state who worked together to close Minnesota’s large state institutions and develop a respectful service delivery system for individuals with developmental disabilities. We are now pleased to release a revised edition of With An Eye to the Past. This product has been converted to a responsive design format and all videos have been updated to current technology standards.

Ed Roberts Day, January 23rd

Ed Roberts

Ed Roberts was a pioneering leader of the disability rights movement. Ed declared that people with disabilities are fully human; that they have a right and a responsibility to take control of their own lives, to help build a new culture in which they and all people participate fully in the leadership, the labor, and the fruits of society.

On December 15, 2010 the United States House of Representatives declared January 23, 2011 as "Ed Roberts Day." In celebration of this day in 2017, we are pleased to share additional glimpses into Ed's life, in story and photos, as told by his son, Lee Roberts.

Ed in Russia
Ed Roberts in Russia
Ed as a kid
Lee Roberts (center), with his uncles (Ed's cousins) Jerry McManigal and Kenneth McManigal

January 12, 2012, updated March 2, 2012, May 11, 2012, February 4, 2014, and January 20, 2017

Partners in Living Online Course Spanish Version Released

We are pleased to announce the release of the Spanish translation of Partners in Living. This completes the series of the five Partners in Policymaking online courses that is now available in Spanish.

The design and development of the five original online courses began in 2002 with Partners in Making Your Case. Over the years, several updates to the courses have been made and other versions have been created, including an EZ Read version of the Partners in Employment course and an American Sign Language version of Partners in Making Your Case. The Spanish translations have been the most recent additions.

All of the online courses can be accessed from the Council home page, the home page of the Partners in Policymaking website, and the home page of Partners Online Courses.

Partners Class Group Photo

December 30, 2016

Parallels in Time

The History of Disabilities: 1500 B.C. to the Present

In commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, we are pleased to announce the release of a revised Parallels in Time product. This product combines the original Parallels in Time, documenting the history of disabilities from 1500 B.C to 1950 released on the 25th anniversary of the Council, and Parallels in Time 2, continuing the history of disabilities from 1950 to the present released on the 35th anniversary. All videos have been updated to current technology standards. This product has also been converted to a responsive design format. http://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/

Partners in Policymaking® Coordinator's Handbook

Partners in Policymaking® Coordinator's Handbook

In celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, we are pleased to announce the release of the newly revised and updated Partners in Policymaking® Coordinator's Handbook. This is the eighth edition of the Handbook, designed to help Coordinators who are starting or restarting a Partners program as well as serve as a resource for Coordinators to maintain the quality of existing programs. This version is fully accessible and incorporates all current accessibility features.

Download and Read the Handbook >>

Partners Evaluation Reports >>

Forms Related to Replication of the Partners Classroom Program:
Partners Profile Form
Time Match Form
Respite Care/Child Care Reimbursement Form
Participant Reimbursement Request Form
Sample Partners Application
Session Evaluation
Sample Participation Agreement

Partners in Policymaking® Coordinator's Handbook

Partners in Policymaking®: Changing Lives. Changing Policies.

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this book traces the history of the Partners program. Through a collection of stories and testimonials, Partners graduates share the impact of the program on their lives as well as the many ways that the ADA has resulted in their greater inclusion and integration into the community and society at large.

Download and Read the Book (Accessible PDF when viewed with Adobe Reader)

Changing Lives, Changing Policies

FORTY-FIVE YEARS OF HISTORY 1971-2016

October 2016 marks the 45th Anniversary of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities. A series of articles will cover this history, the work completed and accomplishments made by the Council during those forty-five years.

These articles will be released in five year segments over the next several months. The first segment provides brief background material on the advocacy and legislation that preceded the establishment of the Council.  Read the complete article >>

Disability Justice

The Disability Justice Resource Center

An online resource for everyone interested in learning more about the rights of people with developmental disabilities and protection of those rights.

The Disability Justice Resource Center has been created as an educational resource to increase awareness and understanding of the unique and complex issues related to justice for people with disabilities, particularly people with developmental disabilities. For the legal community, the Resource Center could be used to identify and eliminate biases against people with disabilities, for continuing legal education courses, and by law schools and students. This online resource is divided into several sections:

The ADA Legacy Project

The ADA Legacy Project celebrates the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on disability rights, and honors the contributions of individuals with disabilities and their allies who persevered in securing the passage of this landmark civil rights legislation. Georgetown University has compiled a collection of historical documents related to the ADA that date back to the 1980s, the decade preceding the milestone signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990.

Index of ADA Moments >>


The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary

In July 2012, the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities was asked to participate in the ADA Legacy Project. Over a two and one half year time period, a monthly "Moment in Disability History" was posted on the Council website, marking important happenings and recognizing some of the many, many leaders across the country who contributed to the passage of the ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary is a compilation of those "Moments."

PDF Format     ePub Format

Book Cover - The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary

Quality and the Baldrige Framework

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities began its quality journey in 1997 using the National Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Baldrige Framework, a systems approach to improving a business or organization's performance, is based on a set of core values and concepts that represent the beliefs and behaviors found in high performing businesses and organizations.

Since 1998, Bill Harreld, Quality Culture Institute, has shared his experience and expertise, working with the Council on quality improvement and the application of the Baldrige Criteria to the Council's work. This journey has been a learning experience and, since there's always room for improvement, the learning continues. For businesses that want to better serve their customers and improve their business results, this overview of the Baldrige Framework and Criteria can serve as a step in beginning that process.

Bill Harreld

Quality and the Baldrige Framework Video Presentation >>

April 3, 2015

"Telling Your Story"

App Available Now for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Amazon Kindle Fire

iPad App Telling Your Story

Making Your Case, the print publication, was created in 1994. This was the first of many tools used in the Partners in Policymaking program that focused on specific techniques and insights for effective communication skills in the legislative process and the many ways to positively influence public policy at all levels of government.

Both the "Telling Your Story" app and the Partners in Making Your Case online course, released in 2003, are using different technologies based on the original publication. They all serve as tools for making those critical connections with your elected public officials and building positive partnerships in the policymaking process.

July 13, 2013, updated July 1, 2014, September 30, 2014, February 16, 2016

Institutions to Independence

"Institutions to Independence" is a 30 minute documentary produced by TPT (public television) in cooperation with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Government Training Services. This documentary tells the story of services in Minnesota from the 1860s into the 21st Century through the telling of stories of people with developmental disabilities, families, and professionals.

Institutions to Independence
Know Your Rights

In addition to the documentary, the Minnesota Governor's Council worked with TPT to create "Know Your Rights", an Illustrated Essay by David Gillette regarding the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities.

Visit the Institutions to Independence section for interviews about rights and social justice issues >>


Independence To Inclusion

A TPT Documentary Produced with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

"Independence to Inclusion," a second TPT documentary, was produced with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2014. Much has changed in terms of available services and supports, and delivery systems. However, stigma and stereotypes against people with developmental disabilities have long outlasted Minnesota's state institutions and still persist today. How will inclusion in schools, the workplace, and the community affect the lives of thousands of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities?
(View version with closed captioning)
Original Broadcast: 04/15/2014. Length: 26 minutes, 40 seconds.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Upper Midwest chapter, announced the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional nominees and the TPT documentary, Independence to Inclusion, was nominated under "Documentaries – Cultural." http://midwestemmys.org/

Independence to Inclusion

The Evolution of the Quality of Care in Developmental Disabilities

Jim Conroy

Jim Conroy

Jim Conroy is the founder and President of the Center for Outcome Analysis, Inc., a non-profit firm that is devoted to evaluation, research, training, and policy analysis on quality of life issues in the developmental disabilities field. The Center is founded on the principle that service agencies should be guided by measurable quality of life outcomes regarding the services and supports received by individuals with developmental disabilities.

The video interview was conducted December 7, 2011.

Quality – Standards, Values, Vision: A Paper by Bruce Kappel (April 18, 2013)

January 25, 2012

Professor John McKnight: Community Building

All the people who live in a community can help to create a welcoming environment; one that recognizes the gifts, abilities, and skills of everyone there; and invites everyone to work together to build and strengthen their community.

Professor John McKnight brings this concept to life and talks about the key elements of asset based community development through his wit and the art of storytelling.

John McKnight

John McKnight, a community organizer and gifted story teller, is committed to the concepts and principles of asset based community development – discovering and enhancing the abilities, capacities, gifts and skills of every member of every neighborhood and community.  In a recent conversation with Cormac Russell, Managing Director of the UK based consulting and research organization, Nurture Development, John McKnight and Peter Block speak about the renewal of communities, local living, and cooperation. (7-25-17)

Play Conversation:

Abundantcommunity.com Audio Recordings Page     Transcript

Presentation conducted February 17, 2012
Updated May 25, 2012; August 21, 2017


Capacity Building Beyond Community Services

Introduction by Ed Preneta, Retired Director, Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities

Asset based community development is John McKnight's approach to community organizing. John is a community organizer, an academic and a brilliant story-teller. He believes that everyone has a gift, an ability, a skill to share; and everyone, regardless of how they may identify themselves or what their personal needs may be, can help to make their community better for everyone who lives there.

Video Interview: Capacity Building Beyond Community Services

John McKnight

Videotaped Interview: August 3, 2011


A collection of John McKnight's papers, where he further explains the building blocks and assets that make for an inclusive community, can be found at John McKnight Resources and Documents.

Updated September 15, 2011

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.