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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.


FFY 2001 Annual Report

Every year the GCDD prepares an annual report for the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). The annual report describes what the GCDD did with the federal funding and what was achieved.


In its Three Year Plan for October 2000 to September 30, 2003, the GCDD described the following strategic direction:

By 2003, the GCDD will be recognized as a national leader in advancing the independence, productivity, integration and inclusion (IPII) of people with developmental disabilities and families through the primary products of —

Partners in Policymaking®
Communications and Training
Quality Improvement.

The strategies within these three areas are as follows:

1. Partners in Policymaking®

  • Partners in Policymaking, a leadership training program designed for adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities, will be held annually.
  • Workshops for Partners graduates will be offered quarterly to strengthen personal leadership skills.
  • Longitudinal studies of Partners graduates will be conducted annually.
  • Cultural outreach programs will be conducted annually in the African American, American Indian, and Hispanic communities for parents of children with developmental disabilities.
  • A pilot program, Partners in Policymaking for Employers, will be tested with Minnesota businesses aligned with the Baldrige framework. This framework and related criteria promotes the best of business standards to improve performance, achieve strategic goals, and increase business results within a customer driven environment.

2. Communications and Training

  • Publications and resource materials will be available free of charge in accessible formats.
  • All products and services will be converted to web accessible formats in accordance with Electronic Government Services objectives.
  • Training conferences will be cosponsored annually.

3. Customer Focus and Quality Improvement

  • Research will be conducted on customer needs, requirements, and expectations. Customer satisfaction data will be collected systematically.
  • The GCDD and suppliers will increase their knowledge, understanding, and application of the Baldrige framework.


1. Partners in Policymaking®

As a result of the Partners in Policymaking program –

  • 2,364 people received leadership training related to self determination.
  • 539 people (174 self advocates and 365 family members) were active in system advocacy related to self determination.
  • Partners in Policymaking

Thirty-three individuals graduated from the Partners program bringing the five-year total (1997-2002) to 146 graduates. The Partners curriculum covers 11 topics in eight weekend sessions. Participants are involved in a minimum of 128 hours of competency based instruction. They learn about best practices in education, technology, housing, and employment; and gain knowledge and experience in working with elected officials for systems change.

At the end of the program, participants were asked to rank their independence productivity, integration and inclusion (IPII) on a five point scale, where 5 is the highest. Their average scores were:

   Independence:   4.2

   Productivity:   4.1

   Integration/Inclusion  4.2

In each case, this was an increase over their rankings at the beginning of the class.

In years past, Partners graduates were asked if their IPII levels had increased because of the Partners program. In the four classes between 1997 and 1999, graduates most often reported an increase in their independence (from 83% to 100%). Slightly fewer reported an increase in integration and inclusion (from 78% to 85%). Not surprisingly, because of the nature of the Partners curriculum, graduates are less likely to report increases in productivity levels (from 56% to 78%).

Partners in Policymaking was created in Minnesota in 1987. Since that time, the program, or a derivative of the program, has been replicated in 47 states. There are now more than 9,000 Partners graduates nationally and internationally. Within the United States, they are part of a growing network of community leaders serving on policy making committees, commissions, and boards at local, state, and national levels.

  • Workshops for Partners Graduates

Four workshops were held for 46 graduates from previous Partners classes. The workshops focused on facilitation and negotiation skills.

At the end of the workshops, participants ranked their IPII levels as follows:

   Independence:   4.6

   Productivity:   4.7

   Integration/Inclusion  4.9

Partners graduates certainly appear to see themselves as increasing their IPII, both as a result of follow up workshops and also because they continue to use their skills over time.

  • Longitudinal Study of Partners Graduates

During the year, a total of 530 Minnesota Partners educated elected officials at county, state and federal levels, and distributed information on current issues. They actively participated in forums and meetings about services and supports that work, gaps in services, and ways to improve the system and remove barriers so that service delivery systems are more responsive to individual and family needs.

  • Cultural Outreach

In 2000, thirty African American parents of children with developmental disabilities participated in a training program that provided personal support and introduced the concepts of the Partners program. As a result of the training, participants reported significant increases in their IPII:

   Independence:   94%

   Productivity:   95%

   Integration/Inclusion  95%

Similar outreach and training programs have been held in the American Indian and Hispanic communities. As a result of these efforts, at least 17 participants have gone on to become Partners graduates.

In 2000, eight American Indian parents and 12 Hispanic parents of children with developmental disabilities participated in focus groups conducted around family support needs, requirements, and expectations. The focus groups documented and clarified service gaps in the minority communities, and prompted an interest among the parents in forming a Family Support Council.

  • Partners for Employers

An e-learning prototype was developed for Partners for Employers. The complete on-line course will include home pages for employers, family members, persons with developmental disabilities, and professionals/service providers. Five modules will be available on each home page, and include resources, best practices, interactive exercises, tips and tools, and facts and questions.

Thirty-two hours of training on quality principles, based on the Baldrige Criteria were provided at Rochester Community and Technical College.

In addition, 16 people with developmental disabilities were supported as employees to prepare resource packets for the Parents in Policymaking weekend sessions.

2. Communications and Training

  • Publications and Resource Materials.

The GCDD is known and respected worldwide for its publications and resource materials.

In this one year, 2,069 orders were received, resulting in the distribution of 30,103 publications and 5,599 CD-ROMs. Publications and resources on person centered planning are in particularly high demand. Making Your Case, a booklet that offers techniques and insights for effective communication skills in the legislative process and how to positively influence public policy at all levels of government, was updated. More than 3,000 copies of the updated edition were distributed during the past year.

For three years, our customers have said our publications are useful and helpful between 97% and 99% of the time. When asked to rate our publications on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), the average score this year was 9.2

The GCDD responds to technical assistance requests on a daily basis. During the year, a total of 1,209 technical assistance requests were responded to; issues most frequently presented included services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and families (housing and independent living, waivers, community services), publications and resource materials, referrals for speakers and employment/career development, special education, and information about replicating the Partners in Policymaking program.

  • Web-Accessible Products.

The Learning Center and Parallels in Time are both available online ( OR and on CD-ROM. Parallels in Time traces the treatment, perceptions, and types of services available to people with disabilities from B.C. to the present. The Learning Center contains over 10,000 pages of GCDD documents. New publications and resources are also posted on and available through the web site.

The GCDD’s web site is the largest on the State of Minnesota server.

  • Training Conferences

The GCDD cosponsored ten training events/conferences with local and state disability organizations — ACT, Inc.; Arc Central MN; Arc Hennepin-Carver, Arc MN, Arc Southwest MN, Brain Injury Association of MN, Metro Self Advocacy Council Consortium, McDACA, MN SILS, Twin Cities Autism Society.

The conferences promote leadership development among people with developmental disabilities and their families. During the past year, 2,268 people attended.

As a result of these training conferences, participants reported the following increases in their levels of IPII:

   Independence:   77%

   Productivity:   79%

   Integration/Inclusion  79%

3. Customer Focus and Quality Improvement

The GCDD is committed to listening to its customers. To act on this commitment, it has adopted the Baldrige Framework – a continuous improvement framework that is focused on the customer, based on facts and data, and directed toward results.

The Framework has guided the GCDD’s efforts to design a systematic process of surveying customers and gathering satisfaction/dissatisfaction data to ensure that GCDD members, staff, and suppliers are focused on quality performance and improving business results.

  • Customer Research

A statewide customer satisfaction survey was conducted this past year. The purpose of the survey was to determine how people with developmental disabilities evaluate the quality of products and services they receive from government agencies and suppliers; determine current levels of satisfaction with IPII; and identify the obstacles they face in day-to-day living.

One thousand questionnaires were sent out and 300 were returned. Highlights of the survey are as follows.

  • In the business world, the standard is 80% satisfaction — anything less is a signal that your business is in crisis. None of the satisfaction data from the survey was above 80%.
  • 60% of respondents were satisfied with their level of independence.
  • 62% of respondents were satisfied with their level of productivity.
  • 64% of respondents were satisfied with their level of integration.
  • 55% of respondents were satisfied with their level of inclusion.
  • 25% of respondents were dissatisfied with the education/special education services they were receiving. Almost one third of the respondents believed their concerns were not addressed promptly or professionally.
  • All levels of government received low satisfaction ratings. County and state government each received a rating of 5.5 (scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the highest). The federal government received a rating of 4.9.
  • Quality Improvement

In 1999, the GCDD received the Achievement (Gold) Award from the Minnesota Council for Quality, the highest award ever received by a government entity. This award level demonstrates sound and effective business approaches and practices that are responsive to the overall requirements of the Baldrige Criteria.

GCDD members and staff completed a total of 440.5 hours of training on the Baldrige Framework and quality principles to improve performance, align all activities with IPII results, and focus service design/delivery around customer needs, requirements, and expectations. Suppliers completed 70 hours of quality improvement training.

Because of the stability of suppliers from previous years, this is a significant reduction from the over 400 hours of training in each of the previous two years.

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 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
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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.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.