The Status of Partners in Policymaking (1987-1994)
As Presented to:
Third Minnesota Summer Leadership Institute
July 17, 1994
Colleen Wieck, Ph.D.
Minnesota Governor's Planning Council
on Developmental Disabilities
"A National Status Report on Partners in Policymaking"
Let's return to 1986. I want to dispel any notion that the Council or staff had any idea what we were doing or creating. I do want you to listen to how as a board member you can push concepts over time.
Our Council had selected "Case Management" as its priority in 1986. We released a request for proposal that allocated funds for research, a pilot project to use technology to reduce paperwork, and funding Category entitled " Consumers to Receive Quality Case Management Services."
The Council was willing to award one or more contracts for a total of $150,000 to implement training and technical assistance to consumers to raise expectations about case management, to improve the content validity of individual plans, to provide information about services, and to develop a consensus building process with local officials about quality case management services. The RAP was released in January 1986.
The state plan approved by the Council on June 4, 1986, established a goal that persons with developmental disabilities will receive a coordinated range of services that promotes quality of life, , integration, productivity, and independence. The corresponding objective stated that:
By September 30, 1989, consumer, advocate, and professional knowledge of practices in case management will have increased.
The minutes of the Grant Review Committee reflect the muddling we went through. The Committee rejected all the applications for Category except one. Discussion ensued:
- One member commented that little information about case management is being. We need to do a survey.
- A second member stated that the survey will probably result in conferences, workshops, and trainings. We need to know who consumers of case management services are and how to contact them.
- Another member stated that perhaps we should go to existing advocacy groups and let them go build consensus.
- A final statement since the Council's administering agency, the State Planning Agency has this function of consensus building as their role, they should take responsibility.
The first motion read:
The Grant Review Committee gives the Council staff discretion to identify the lead agency/consultant to produce the "consensus building survey" which will be from a consumer/parent perspective and report to the Committee at its August meeting.
The Council staff prepared a memo to the Grant Review Committee outlining a departure from a typical grant approach. We argued that we need a systems approach to the grant, not a gap filling approach; we stated that case management was an ambiguous issue spanning ages, disability areas, and agencies.
Our obligation was to reach out to the widest group of consumer and to assume a task master role.
The proposed work program included identifying training efforts underway in case management; creating a training institute devoted to consumers only; establishing a structured process for public officials to create informal agreements about case management roles and responsibilities; developing and delivering workshops in the areas of leadership training, board member training, and advocacy training; and preparing information to be used by consumers to influence public decision making.
In August 1986, the Committee moved:
That the $99,258 remaining in funding Category Consumers to Receive Quality Case Management Services be encumbered by the State Planning Agency and used to carry out selected tasks to be identified by the Grant Review Committee. The State Planning Agency may use this money to hire staff or consultants as needed or for any other purposes necessary to carry out tasks.
At the September meeting, designed to go over the work program, the chair stated the work plan was "bold and creative." Not everyone shared that positive viewpoint. One Council member declared it a hodgepodge with no cement to hold it together.
Seventeen days later, on September 19, 1986, the Senate held a committee hearing on Medicaid Reform. Ed and I testified and watched several witnesses, especially one young parent. We were concerned about how people handled themselves in that setting. Witnesses seemed doom to fail. The following week all of the ideas came together from the Grant Review Committee. Ed and I decided to create a series of sessions devoted either to issues or to influencing a level of government.
In December 1986, A New Way of Thinking went to the printer.
One of the contracted staff assigned to that project was willing to pull the program together. First, the title . . . No great debates, no major committees, no focus groups here is a list of words that can be in the title. It was decided to call the program Partners in Policymaking. We moved on to competencies, speakers, and dates. The kickoff was scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 1987.
The Committee received a report on February 4, 1987, and April 1, 1987. The concept began to look familiar:
- A series of weekend training opportunities;
- Open to consumers and parents of young children;
- Who have not been involved before in the movement;
- Mentoring with an elected official would be one aspect of the program;
- Recruitment of applicants through the network;
- Strong commitment needed by participants; and
- Funds available for child care, personal assistance, and transportation.
At the same meeting, the staff was able to report 6,000 copies of A New Way of Thinking were disseminated in three months.
What's the moral of the convoluted process for future Council members in this room?
- Be willing to depart from how you always do business.
- Trust each other.
- Give ambiguous and ambitious ideas some time to evolve.
- Don't believe in the three-year cycle of funding.
- You never know if another state will adopt your ideas.
- Call upon the leaders in the field for help because they understand the need for fresh concepts.
Of that first class of graduates, we know that some have moved away and others have moved on to Master's degrees, law school . . .. We tracked longitudinal results of the first year's class and subsequent groups.
2. Growth of the Program
Section Two of this presentation is based upon phone interviews with all the states that have created a leadership program. My caution to you is that there is wide variability in state efforts, but let us congratulate everyone on the great job in bringing the program to life.
|1987||1988||1989||1990||April 1990 National Academy|
|MN||MN, NH||MN, NH,
|1991||May 1992 National Academy||1992||1993|
|May 1992 National Academy||1994||1995|
What do we know about the states pending?
- The Kansas DD Council has shown new interest in this program.
- The Maine DD Council completed a project on family support and is not interested. The Council and UAP are working on a joint self-advocacy training project. The Maine MR/DD Services Agency has shown the most interest. The state supported employment directors are also interested.
- The Maryland Council is seriously discussing the program.
- The Massachusetts DD Council is not interested. The State MR/DD Agency is. The UAP is also interested.
- Nevada is not interested.
- New Jersey has a self-advocacy project and a family support project.
- Rhode Island; Washington, DC; Vermont; and Wyoming are not interested.
- The Wisconsin UAP is interested.
- Mississippi attended academies but still are unable to make progress with the Council.
- Idaho has applied for funding.
3. Quality Principles
The third section of this presentation will provide a brief reminder of the quality principles of the Partners program:
In the three-ring binder produced for the 1993 Academy on Partners, we described the quality principles of Partners:
- Experiential learning.
- National speakers.
- Best practices.
- Length of time.
- Sufficient funding.
- Evaluation (improvements).
- Not an organization.
I cannot effectively convey how the integrity of the program is shortchanged, not with malice:
- Money drives policy.
- Money drives decisions.
Why care about integrity? Because as you sit on boards, create programs, chair DD Councils, the fight will be to keep heart, mind, and soul on a synchronized mission.
How do we shortchange integrity:
- No competencies.
- Lectured at.
- No diversity.
- Instate speakers.
- Few speakers.
- Followers, not advocates.
- Shortened session time.
- Insufficient funding.
- No evaluation.
- Promotes status quo.
4. Evaluation Highlights
In section four I have selected highlights from evaluation reports that we have received from various states:
- Nurturing leadership ability.
- Affecting policymaking.
- Building self-esteem.
Georgia Partners in Policymaking 1992-1993 Annual Report
- 30 news articles.
- 95 presentations.
- 51 university.
- 20 appointments to committees, commissions, task forces, and boards.
- 20 elections to advocacy offices.
- 350 letters to policymakers/public officials.
- 40 testimonies.
- 150 visits to state legislators.
- 600 Telephone calls to public officials.
Georgia Partners in Policymaking 1992-1993 Six-Month Follow-Up
- 100% evaluated the program as good to excellent.
- 92% rated their advocacy skills as good to excellent.
- 94% are securing appropriate services.
Minnesota Partners in Policymaking Year 6 Baseline
Contacts with Public Officials
How Many Have:
|Presented to parents||25%|
|Presented at a conference||18%|
|Served on a committee||21%|
Evaluate Your Advocacy Skills:
Minnesota Partners in Policymaking Year 6 Six-Month Follow-Up
- 100% evaluated the program as good to excellent.
- 96% rated their advocacy skills as good to excellent.
- 90% are securing appropriate services.
- Phone calls
- Office visits
Minority Outreach Institute on Minority Development,
Minneapolis, 1993 Baseline
Assessment of Current Skills
|Poor ability to exercise civil rights||100%|
|Fair to poor ability to secure services||100%|
|Fair to poor knowledge/collaboration||58%|
|Poor knowledge of rights||75%|
|Poor ability to communicate||75%|
|Fair to poor ability to secure services||75%|
Iowa Partners in Policymaking 1989-1992 Evaluation: Years 1, 2, and 3
By Robin Cunconan-Lahr
- 67 Partners graduates participated.
- 95% evaluated the training as good to excellent.
- 98% rated their advocacy skills as good to very good.
- 91% are able to secure better services.
- Presented at parent conferences
- Served on committees
27 Partners graduated in May 1992:
- 3 ran for school board.
- 1 ran for county board.
- 1 manager of Pizza Hut implements supported employment.
- 2 appointed to Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
- 2 Iowa Protection & Advocacy.
- 1 is chair of Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
- 1 is vice chair of Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
- 2 newsletters.
- 3 parent support.
- 1 chaired Special Education Advisory Committee.
- 4 in video on voter training.
New Hampshire Leadership Graduates
- 95% worked on inclusive education.
- 40% made presentations.
- 60% advocated for policy changes.
- 50% joined family groups.
- Others worked on inclusive recreation, access in an elementary school,
- and home ownership.
The Best Part:
- Yes, would recommend it to others.
- It has made a difference to the state.
Alabama Evaluation 1990-1991
- 64 news articles.
- 58 TV/radio.
- 19 presentations.
- 9 university.
- 32 appointments.
- 450 letters.
- 11 testimonials.
- 235 personal visits.
- 5,225 phone calls.
Alabama Annual Report 1990-1991
The Spirit of Partners Is the Energy, Power,
and Outreach of Each Participant.
- 32 news articles.
- 25 TV/radio.
- 67 presentations.
- 10 university.
- 45 appointments.
- 300 letters.
- 20 testimonials.
- 225 personal visits.
- 500 phone calls.
Alabama 1990-1991 Competency Evaluations
(5 = Highest)
- Family support
- State legislation
Colorado July 1991 Evaluation Report of Year 2
- Interviews with graduates of Year 1 and Year 2.
- Focus groups.
- Written evaluation.
- "Situational leadership."
- "Process politics."
Partners didn't define leadership in terms of followership. Partners changes ideas about leadership:
- Assertive behavior.
- Clearer sense of situation.
Partners Exceeded Expections:
- Primary reason is the interaction with young adults.
- Have a future vision.
- Volunteer activities.
- Situational leadership.
The Impact and Influence of Illinois Partners in Action Class of 1993
- Attendance at 14 state and regional conferences addressing a wide range
- of issues in disabilities, as well as at 11 training workshops.
- Presentations at over 11 state, regional, and local conferences.
- The generation of over 365 letters to policymakers and public officials.
- Over 155 telephone calls to policymakers on key disabilities related
- Appointments to 26 committees, task forces, commissions, and executive boards.
- 7 appointments to proposal review boards for state funded disabilities projects.
- Over 55 testimonies presented to state legislative and policy setting committees on such issues as educational inclusion and family support.
- Meetings with over 60 public officials and policymakers, including legislators, members of the Illinois State Board of Education, local school boards, and school superintendents.
- 34 presentations on various issues to state, regional, and local groups.
- The generation of 9 newspaper articles and television interviews on disability issues.
- Over 105 instances of increased self-advocacy, as well as advocacy on the behalf of other individuals and families, including such activities as increased participation in IEPs, increased access to respite care and supports, and full inclusion of children in general educational settings.
- Over 23 community organizing projects which included letter writing campaigns on specific issues, public rallies, the development of resource information and networks, and the organizing of support and advocacy workshops which resulted in the creation of 4 new local organizations dedicated to these issues.