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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 Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (the Council) is part of the Minnesota network of programs funded under P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). The DD Act also funds the Minnesota Disability Law Center (the designated protection and advocacy agency for the state) and the Institute on Community Integration, a University Center for Excellence located at the University of Minnesota.

The Council's business is to provide information, education, and training to increase knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will increase the independence, productivity, self-determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

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Council Members as of December 8, 2016

Senator John Hoffman, Chair
Michelle Albeck
Ashley Bailey
Alex Bartolic
Marrie Bottelson
Emilie Breit
Mary Hauff
Pamela Hoopes
David R. Johnson
Eric Kloos
Jim Lovold
Barb Lundeen
Lynne Megan
Kate Onyeneho
Carolyn Perron
David Quilleash
Mary Raasch
Robbie Reedy
Jacqueline Rightler
Linda Simenstad
Bonnie Jean Smith
Michael Stern
Katheryn Ware
Alan Wilensky


Independence: Personal freedom to make choices and have control over services, supports, and other assistance the individual receives.
Self-determination: Authority to make decisions, control resources, and develop personal leadership skills.
Productivity: Meaningful income-producing work or volunteer work that contributes to a household or the community.
Integration and Inclusion: Full participation in the same community activities as people without disabilities.


The Council received $1,047,120 from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) for FFY 2016. Of that amount, 71% ($743,455) was allocated for grants and contracts to fulfill the goals of the Council's Five-Year State Plan approved by the federal government.


In FFY 2016, Class 33 of Partners in Policymaking (Partners) graduated nine self advocates and 16 parents; three individuals represented minority communities.  Participants evaluated themselves at the beginning of the program year on the federal outcomes of IPSII and again at graduation.  The following IPSII changes were reported: On a 5-point scale (5 being highest), independence increased from 4.3 to 4.4; productivity increased from 3.9 to 4.0; self-determination increased from 3.9 to 4.1; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.3 to 4.9. Graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.6, usefulness of the presentations at 4.6, and quality of the training sessions at 4.7.

Following meetings with County Commissioners, participants found their issues crystalized more as they met with each successive Commissioner, and they gained confidence in recognizing that they are experts with their particular problems. They never thought their voice could ever count.

Partners graduates discussed and increased awareness and understanding about state legislative issues, including:

  • Transportation, including Metro Mobility, the local paratransit system serving the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (requesting more accountability and a more efficient service, improved routing, and a specific system of checks and balances);
  • Employment, including early training for employment (in keeping with the emphasis and focus on transition students and career planning under WIOA); self advocates wanting to work in fully integrated employment settings, paid fairly, and having opportunities for promotion;
    • "I'm capable of making much more than $ 5/hour; that [hourly wage] makes me feel less valued."
    • "I care deeply about integrated, competitive employment and person centered job training for all young adults."
  • TEFRA and the elimination of parental fees;
  • County social services/county workers—establish a formal training program to assure knowledge of services, and easier access to programs and services;
  • Protection of parental rights for parents with disabilities; and
  • Affordable housing.

Participants reviewed bills and prepared testimony regarding paraprofessional training (beginning before or immediately upon employment), Medicaid reform issues and an increase an asset limits, and a rate increase for home- and community-based services in terms of workforce compensation and person-centered planning.

At the federal level, Partners participants received policy updates about the Every Student Succeeds Act, Keeping All Students Safe Act, full funding for IDEA, the CMS Home and Community Based Services Settings Final Rule (new requirements for both residential and non-residential settings, state transition plans, and the definition of person-centered planning), and Social Security (preserving SSI and SSDI programs, and addressing areas for improvement).

Impact Statements

The impact of the Partners program for Class 33 graduates is reflected in testimonials shared at graduation:

  • "I learned about how to be a self advocate, more independent living skills so life is better, and I met with legislators about assistive technology."
  • "I focus on the Olmstead Plan and housing options with the Arc Greater Twin Cities advocacy committee. I teach about acceptance and self-determination with the Ambassadors for Respect project … I want to make a difference in the world.  I want to live in an apartment and be more independent and stand up for myself.  I want others to be as independent as possible."
  • "Before Partners, I thought my view of the disability world was good and I would learn a little about services. But my classmates who are self advocates opened my eyes. From parents, I gained more knowledge and a love for children."
  • "I thank you for memories. I've learned never to give up and always to be true to myself—'be tough' as Karen [Kaiser Clark] said. It takes a lot of steps to get to where we are today. Thank you."
  • "I wanted to build my advocacy skills to support my daughter. After the first weekend and learning the history, I now want to be able to help all people … I have testified and had an article published. I could not have done this without Partners. I have the confidence to let my voice be heard … I consider everyone here a part of my family. To the self advocates, thanks for showing me the possibilities for my daughter. To parents, the time spent together has changed my life; your life stories will stay with me always."
  • "I want you to know that each one of your stories touched me profoundly and personally, and I wonder what I can make of these. I think of my parents raising me in the 50's. It was recommended that I be institutionalized; I'm so lucky I wasn't. I'm honored to get to know each of you and your stories. We need to continue building bonds and telling our stories so we'll be heard."
  • "When I first started Partners, I felt so overwhelmed. I didn't know what to think of everything. I felt everyone was more educated than I was. I felt lost in a crowd. As time went on, I got comfortable with everybody. We're all different in our ways and I came out of my shell. You became my second family once a month; I don't see my own family that often. I learned a lot from each person."
  • "One graduate read a poem—think of me as a writer, dreamer, helper; don't think of being an advocate. The people I met reminded me always to hope and to have something to laugh about."
  • "Partners helped me with new resources for life and work in the community. I learned a lot from speakers about the legislative and federal process for advocating to pass bills. I feel brave with the support from other Partners for the future. Great Partners in Policymaking!"

Government Training Services/GTS Educational Events
2233 University Ave. W, Suite 150
Saint Paul, MN 55114


Twenty-two Partners graduates attended a workshop on "Media Relations, Working with the Media," and 18 graduates attended a follow-up small group coaching session. Participants created action plans and steps to get media attention, discussed local media outlets and reporter contacts, and identified potential platforms for media messaging—social media, opinion pages, letters to the editor, and local news campaigns. They rated knowledge gained at 4.8; usefulness at 4.7, and quality of the training at 4.8 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

Impact Statements

Impact is reflected in comments/feedback about new information learned and how Partners graduates will use what they learned, including how to:

  • Effectively reach the media to educate the community and approach the media.
  • Frame a message and get the message out to the public.
  • Avoid using negative language in order to promote the greater good, inform people, and achieve greater success.
  • Understand the perspectives of news people and their characteristics to deliver great sound bites that can be used in the media.

Each graduate created a media campaign ranging from funding for a school board election to working with the media on People First language.
A Public Media Forum brought together representatives from all major local news networks. The panel discussed the role of the media and how stories are selected for publication, including stories that focus on disability issues; the audience was also able to ask questions of the panelists. The Forum was open to many audiences; over 100 people attended including 22 Partners graduates.  All participants said the Forum was useful//helpful and rated it 9.0 (10-point scale, 10 being highest). The Forum was taped, questions and answers were edited, and it was placed online for March Public Awareness month. A feature was created for the Council's website and is still available online.

Leer Communication and Consultants
718 Washington Ave North
Suite # 214
Minneapolis, MN 55401


Partners graduates are taking advantage of social media to stay in touch with each other, and share updates on policy issues during the program year and after graduation.  Because several of the past Minnesota Partners classes have started their own Facebook pages, and due to the death of Jim Stone, who managed the national Partners listserv since its inception, the listserv was discontinued early in FFY 2016.

The Council continued to purchase a subscription to Inclusion Daily Express, an online newsletter that highlights disability topics, stories, and public policy issues worldwide. The newsletter was disseminated to subscribers.


The "Telling Your Story" app teaches the steps for writing one's personal story as it relates to a specific public policy issue, then emailing elected officials and other policy makers. The app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Kindle Fire; Android versions for tablet and phone.  Downloads for FFY 2016 = 819; total downloads since first release date = 3,379.

The Arc Minnesota marketed and promoted the "Telling Your Story" app by including it in newsletters and Public Policy updates. In FFY 2016, a total of 2,445 unique visits were made to the Public Policy page, and 540 Facebook users and 344 Twitter users were reached.  Presentations and town meetings throughout the state, conferences, and Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 2016 legislative session were attended by 1,572 individuals who also received information about the app.


The Partners in Policymaking classroom program is connected in several ways to the online courses. Partners faculty are encouraged to refer to the online courses in their presentations and use suggestions from the Integrating Online Learning supplement in small group exercises with participants. They are encouraged to review the courses to supplement and reinforce their classroom learning. The courses are also used by participants who have missed all or part of a weekend session, as well as service providers, college students, direct care workers, and individuals who are unable to attend the classroom Partners program, and the general public. The online courses are available at no cost 24/7/365.
In FFY 2016, a total of 6,967 visits and 18,797 page views were made to the online courses.

A total of 269 compliments were received, and 202 feedback forms were completed with ratings for IPSII, a measure of impact—independence was rated 4.4, productivity was rated 4.3, self-determination was rated 4.4, and integration and inclusion were rated 4.4 (5-point scale).

Impact Statements

Partners in Making Your Case

  • "Simple, easy to follow instructions to help bring our causes to the forefront; makes it easier for people like me that need help getting things off on the right foot."
  • "I like how it builds from one level to the next.  The format is easy to follow. I intend on sharing it with individuals with whom I work who have expressed an interest in advocacy or whom I think would be very good at telling their story."
  • "It was highly informative, and gave a clear layout of plans for anyone wanting to take action.  I was also pleased with the many examples that were provided along the way."
  • "Very thorough and organized. I feel dramatically more prepared to work on my issue."

Partners in Education

  • "There is so much valuable information right at my fingertips. It has been condensed and separated into perfect categories; easy to learn, read, and go back to."
  • "Excellent tips and strategies for parents, which will help to ensure that our children received the services they need!"
  • "Ease of navigation, excellent bookmarking, thorough and informative."
  • "Loved the practical information on the IEP process and how to work effectively with the team."

Partners in Employment

  • "Terrific tips; real solid information."
  • "Liked how the course is broken down into specific segments that are well explained and easy to understand. I also enjoyed the testimonials from individuals with disabilities and what they have overcome in realizing their dreams."
  • "The course assisted me, as a provider, with seeing things from my client's perspective."
  • "Liked best the sites for examples of cover letters and resumés."

Partners in Time

  • "An amazing eye opener of what people with disabilities went through for centuries. I think everyone needs to be aware of this. I was impressed with how user friendly the course was and how all of the information was presented. I'm going to insist that the other nurses I work with review this course. Excellent."
  • "I really appreciated the breadth of this history. It was very interesting, sad, and a good reminder to learn from the past."
  • "I loved all the information that was provided. The videos had so much information and it really gave me a sense of how people lived and were treated."
  • "Very thoroughly researched and written. All the information is very useful to me. I will be able to use this to have a better understanding of the history of people with disabilities."

Partners in Living

  • "This course opens your mind more to accept people as they are."
  • "Like best that the course is accessible! Built with the principles of universal design in mind.  The stories were also excellent; they tied everything together nicely!"
  • "I found myself connecting so personally to all the information in this course because of the death of my daughter who had medically complex needs and my developing health issues after. I'm affected by all of these issues."
  • "This course covers it all! I love how detailed it is and, as a person with experience in this field, I do not feel as though anything was left out."

8707 Broadway Street NW, Suite 210
Minneapolis, MN 55418


During FFY 2016, Dr. Nancy Miller, Metropolitan State University, surveyed Partners graduates from Years XXIII through XXVI (Classes 28 through 31). The study was available on Survey Monkey. Based on averages across four classes, results indicated that 90% of the respondents have the advocacy skills necessary to get needed services and supports some or most of the time, and 100% rate their leadership skills as good to excellent. In terms of federal outcomes and impact, 88% have increased independence, 71% have increased productivity, 83% have increased self-determination, and 75% have increased integration and inclusion that they attribute to their Partners experience.

An additional question was added to the survey beginning with Partners Class 29 graduates regarding their work with public officials about employment issues; 74% responded that they had done so. This aligns with the efforts of the Employment First campaign and the work done to create an Executive Order Providing for Increased State Employment of Individuals with Disabilities (Executive Order 14-14).

Impact Statements

Impact is also measured by the personal achievements that Partners graduates reported and attribute to their classroom training:


  • "School for my daughter is difficult; however, we are able to gather the right people at the table to make important decisions rather than just allow the school to dictate decisions."
  • "My daughter graduated from HS and is finding joy in life."
  • "I'm feeling more empowered when issues come up at school or in the community. I have joined our district's Special Education Advisory Committee."
  • "My daughter is still pretty young but I encourage her to be more involved. I now know that she has a future with college and/or employment so I have changed my own attitude and now direct her more towards that end whereas before, I might not have been so positive and encouraging."
  • "My daughter is seeing more inclusion in her general [education] class and her IEP [team] considers me an equal member which makes getting her what she needs much easier."
  • "I have been able to better negotiate with my daughter's education team when crafting her IEP."
  • "I started college in fall of 2013, which is helping me grow a lot."


  • "Our daughter is nearing high school graduation; we have decided not to pursue the sheltered workshop option but are arranging meaningful volunteer work for her within her interests."
  • "I was able to get a new job where I am able to use my abilities and skills to a greater degree."
  • "I got my first job ever last summer. It was seasonal, but it was competitive employment."
  • "I went back to work for a while. Although the job turned out to be too much for me, I was skilled about informing my manager of my disability and advocating for things I could and could not do at the job site. It worked well!"


  • "I continue to advocate for appropriate housing solutions and an increase in county funding for services."

Public Policy

  • "I ran for school board."
  • "I now have the self-confidence and knowledge to write to my government officials for change."


  • "I'm having a person-centered planning meeting."
  • "I have also become a support planner so I help others with disabilities that have the CDCS option on their waiver budget and what is out there that can help them."


  • "Numerous networking opportunities have led to an opportunity to meet, mentor, and help other people with their own challenges with systems."
  • "I have become more confident, bold and knowledgeable in advocating for others especially for people with disabilities."
  • "The ability to know more about the history of people with disabilities. It's helped me become more proactive with reaching out when I need help via services for my disability."
  • "I am involved in many disability groups and projects. Overall, it has connected me to great opportunities."
  • "Better knowledge of resources to use to assist those with disabilities."
  • "I have learned how to more effectively advocate for my son."

Nancy Miller, Ph.D.
Metropolitan State University
700 E Seventh Street, Room SJ 210
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106


The Council has funded a cultural outreach program in minority communities since 1992. In FFY 2016, a total of 19 individuals (one self advocate and 18 parents) graduated from On Eagles Wings, an outreach program for African Americans.

Training sessions focused on a history of disabilities, inclusive education, county-based services, and systems change—the state legislative process and how to work effectively with legislators to create or improve public policies. Because the State Capitol was temporarily closed due to construction and major renovation, the 2016 "Day at the Capitol" was held at the nearby Minnesota History Center.

The Minnesota Disability Law Center provided an overview of the bill-making process and critical policy issues during the legislative session: consumer-directed community supports, parental fees, employment supports, and Medicaid reform issues (increasing the income and asset limits so individuals with disabilities can keep more of their income and still be eligible for Medical Assistance). Eighteen participants met with one of their state senators and asked that the service and support needs of individuals with developmental disabilities be kept in mind when policy and funding decisions are made.

The impact of this training program can be measured by the graduates' evaluation of themselves in terms of IPSII prior to starting the training program and at the end of the program year. In FFY 2016, their independence increased from 3.0 to 5.0, productivity increased from 2.3 to 5.0, self-determination increased from 3.5 to 5.0, and integration/inclusion increased from 2.4 to 5.0 (5-point scale, 5 being highest). In terms of the personal leadership skills they acquired and best practices information they received, participants rated the program as 4.8 for knowledge gained, 4.9 for usefulness, and 4.9 for quality of training.

Online learning courses were integrated into the classroom learning. The "Telling Your Story" app was presented as a communication tool for creating a personal story and connecting with public officials about specific public policy issues.

Impact Statements

  • "I'm trying to improve my life overall, trying to look better, my education, be a better person."
  • "I didn't know anything about disability history before the training."
  • "I learned about the right to talk with public officials."
  • "I learned about the legislative process… that my Senator lives in my neighborhood."
  • "It gave me the opportunity to know who my representative was. I could meet them and register my hopes and concerns."
  • "I learned many things about the IPE process that I didn't know."
  • "I learned about disability rights… and how people with disabilities were discriminated against."
  • "It motivated me to advocate for people with disabilities in my community."
  • "The training opened my eyes to greater possibilities that I thought were impossible."

IPSII, Inc. continues to offer a half-day emergency planning and preparedness session; a total of 17 On Eagles Wings graduates attended this additional training in FFY 2016. They discussed strategies for keeping themselves, their neighbors, and the community safe in weather and related emergencies—tornadoes, floods, extreme cold, and power outages. Information about the purpose and benefits of the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) training offered by the City of Minneapolis was provided, and a CERT Go Kit and Red Cross Go Kit were available for review. The session was rated as 5.0 for knowledge gained, 5.0 for usefulness, and 5.0 for quality of training.

The Council's "Feeling Safe, Being Safe" emergency planning set (booklet and magnet) were given to all attendees.

Impact Statements

  • "I was happy for this training; I'm feeling safe already."
  • "I enjoyed learning about emergency preparedness and how to be safe."

To assist with the Council's Five-Year State Plan planning process, IPSII, Inc. extended invitations to 24 self advocates and On Eagles Wings graduates to attend a meeting to learn about the State Plan, and provide their input by completing the Individual and Family Survey.

6611 Lynnwood Boulevard
Richfield, Minnesota 55423


During FFY 2016, the direct employment of individuals with developmental disabilities included both transition students and adults with developmental disabilities. The Discovery Process, an information-gathering strategy that involves seven stages of learning about interest areas and skills, was used to identify individual vocational themes, better match or shape employment opportunities that would be successful and productive, and help them prepare for informational interviews with potential employers.

Through the Discovery Process, 218 businesses were contacted in FFY 2016 to match with job seekers based on their vocational themes. The impact of this approach can be seen with both transition students and adults with developmental disabilities. They have found jobs of their choosing, increased their hours or wages, retained jobs, or changed jobs to expand their skills and work in other fields of interest.

Employment Outcomes for Transition Students

Four transition students secured employment, working: in a home daycare setting, as a pet kennel attendant, as a dietary aide, and playing piano at a home-building center. One student completed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training and opted to also take training to be a WRAP facilitator. Another student participated in a youth development summer camp theater program serving as an assistant camp counselor, and completed First Aid and CPR certification training; he received a stipend for the summer session. Transition students worked between 6 hours (starting and depending on school classes) and 35 hours per week, earning between $7.25 (before minimum wage increase to $ 7.75/hour on August 1, 2016) and $15 per hour.
Three transition students were enrolled in post-secondary education programs, all at community and technical colleges—one student in general classes and one student in autobody technology.  One student is nearing completion of an information technology degree.

Employment Outcomes for Adults

Nine adults with developmental disabilities secured employment, working as: a server and activity assistant at a senior care center, a warehouse worker with a game publishing company, a film crew at a theater complex, a production support person with a title insurance company, a general assembly worker with a building products company, a trainer's assistant at a physical fitness center, a kitchen assistant with a university food service, creating fruit bouquets, and in an ethnic restaurant.  They worked 12-40 hours per week, earning between $9 and $11.50 per hour.

Impact can also be measured by how individuals, who worked through the Discovery Process in the previous years or current year and are directly employed, evaluated themselves in terms of IPSII (5-point scale, 5 being highest): Increased independence was 4.5, increased productivity was 4.8, increased self-determination was 4.5, and increased integration/inclusion was 4.8.

Education/Training Sessions

A family engagement workshop, "Work is Possible: The Emerging Landscapes of Employment," was held in November 2016 in the Twin Cities metro area. Presentations addressed the myths and realities about employment, and Minnesota's Olmstead Plan.  A panel featuring self advocates and parents talked about competitive employment and raising work expectations for individuals with developmental disabilities; 35 parents attended. Evaluation results: New knowledge—100% said yes; overall rating of 4.2 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

A second family engagement workshop was held in Greater Minnesota. Presentations provided information on work incentives and technology careers, and the Partners in Education and Partners in Employment online e-learning courses. A total of 16 individuals attended.  Evaluation results: Useful/helpful—100% said Yes; overall rating of 9.4 (10-point scale, 10 being highest).

Employment Capacity Building Cohort

Sixteen school districts are participating in an Employment Capacity Building Cohort. The target audience for training sessions is educators working with transition students ages 18-21. The focus of the first session was on the employment goals in Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. The goal for each school district is competitive employment for 50% of this year's graduating students. A total of 98 individuals attended a presentation on what has been learned from the Council's Employment Project. Evaluation results: Useful/helpful—51% responded affirmatively; overall rating of 3.3 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

St. Paul Schools sponsored an event for families of students with disabilities, including transition-age students; information about work incentives and the Council's online courses was disseminated; 70 families participated.

The NAACP/Governor's Initiative will be performing an Administrative Compliance Audit of Certain Provisions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act; a recommendation will be made that the State workplan include details that will ensure a greater impact on individuals with disabilities. A vendor was been selected to conduct the audit. The State has agreed to address issues affecting individuals with disabilities.

Employment in Scanning/Document Imaging

The impact of the Council's 2002 pilot project is still being felt in both public and private business sectors.

A total of 58 individuals with developmental disabilities have been employed during the past year at Ally People Solutions, working at the storefront operation in St. Paul or other Ally branch locations. Eight individuals started scanning work during FFY 2016.

A total of 1,367,664 images were scanned, including legal documents, student records, state licenses and other state records, photos, large format maps, and miscellaneous reports. Scanning work continues at two different sites in Dakota County. Projects with the St. Paul Port Authority and Board of Social Work were completed.

One team of individuals is working under contract with a digital imaging company in the Twin Cities metro area. First time scanning/document imaging services were provided to the Board of Behavioral Health (232,839 images scanned) and Eco Education (7,500 images scanned) during this past year.
A partnership has been established with Minokaw Technologies; the intent is to create new job opportunities on the labor side of their Laserfiche implementations.

Kaposia, Inc.
223 Little Canada Road, Suite 100
Little Canada, Minnesota 55117


Project SEARCH is a joint project of the Departments of Education, Employment and Economic Development, and Human Services, and Administration/the Council; representatives from each department serve on the State Leadership Team. Project SEARCH sites in Minnesota include Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Fairview Lakes Medical Center, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Medtronic.

Mayo/Project SEARCH completed its first year in September 2016 and is expected to expand next year. The young adults who had internship opportunities experienced a very successful year:

  • "I learned new skills and how to work as a team."
  • "I was motivated and succeeding and, for the first time, seeing something worth working hard at."

During FFY 2016, a total of 1,372 visits were made to the Project SEARCH website. The Council sponsors the website:


Self Advocates of Minnesota (SAM), the statewide self-advocacy network, operates in six regions in the state. Through local self-advocacy groups and a leadership circle comprised of region representatives, SAM strengthens the personal empowerment of self advocates, increases disability awareness through public education, and works towards systems change. Self advocates have been actively involved in the implementation of the Olmstead Plan that is a cross-disability effort.  During FFY 2016, a total of $100,000 in federal funds supported the SAM Central and Northwest regions.

A total of 34 training sessions were attended by 615 self advocates (duplicated count) in the Central and Northwest regions on topics including: leadership qualities; an introduction to the principles of self advocacy and rights; relationship between the disability and human rights movements; sexuality and healthy relationships; negotiation skills; communication skills and communication styles; assertiveness skills; transportation services; situations that involve the ADA and accessibility issues and how to address violations; personal strengths and teamwork; and Minnesota's Olmstead Plan.

Self advocates in two communities in the Central Region are interested in restarting self-advocacy groups that disbanded several years ago. A new self-advocacy group is also getting underway in the Central Region.

Training sessions were evaluated by the self advocates; across both regions and on average, knowledge gained = 4.3, usefulness = 4.4, and quality of presentations = 4.5 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

The impact of self advocacy can be measured by IPSII. A total of 32 self advocates served as teachers/trainers for many training sessions and evaluated themselves in terms of IPSII: greater independence = 100%, productivity = 98%, self-determination = 100%, integration/inclusion = 100%.

Two Leadership Circle meetings were held this year. Emphasis was on fully engaging people with disabilities in Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. Training sessions at Circle meetings revolved around the Plan itself.

Self-advocate leaders from across the state met in early September to begin planning the 2017 State Self Advocacy Conference. The Conference will be held May 12-13, 2017, in Bloomington, Minnesota. "Celebrating Life" will be the theme.

Olmstead Academy

Advocating Change Together created an Olmstead Academy in FFY 2014, funded by the Department of Human Services, and has continued offering the Academy on an annual basis. The Academy includes training sessions on disability rights, leadership skills, and the Olmstead decision and Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. Field work consists of community projects that promote full community integration. Participants are selected through an application process; four self advocates from the Central Region participated in the 2016 Academy.

The initial two training session days focused on basic human rights and an introduction to Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. Additional time was spent discussing personal empowerment, disability awareness, and social change since this year's self advocates didn't have this background coming into the Academy that self advocates had in the previous year. Following are the 2016 Olmstead Academy community integration projects:

  • Out and About—A team mentored eight individuals to use existing transportation services, other than Metro Mobility paratransit service, to get where they wanted to go.
  • Anytime/Everywhere Transportation—A team worked to increase transportation services in Central Minnesota for eight self advocates using non-traditional means to get people where they wanted to go.
  • Loving Hearts/Helping Hands—One team created a volunteering club where nine self advocates helped several community organizations in a variety of ways on a regular basis.
  • Power to Vote—One team mentored 12 self advocates who had not voted before about the voting process and decision making, and provided support to them on election day.
  • Coffee with An Officer—A team helped five self-advocacy groups build a long-term connection with a local police officer by meeting monthly over coffee to get to know each other and begin building relationships.
  • Friendship Connection—One team partnered with a local organization to create new social opportunities for 10 self advocates, meeting new friends, hanging out, playing games, and going places together.
  • Ride the Bus, We Will Show You the Way—One team mentored seven self advocates in Marshall to use public transportation to go to places of their choice and just getting together with friends.

Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Ave., Suite 306-South
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

Anti-bullying Campaign and Ambassadors for Respect

Merrick, a supported employment program and Ticket to Work Employer, has promoted self-advocacy and self-determination since 1997. The anti-bullying campaign was identified by self advocates themselves and initiated in three elementary schools in the Northeast Metro area, St. Paul School District, in 2013.

Fourth grade students are the target audience for the campaign. By 2015, 10 elementary schools were participating, and 596 students and 32 teachers were reached through 24 training sessions. In 2016, a total of 13 schools participated, and 1,009 students and 59 teachers were reached through 37 training sessions. A total of $20,000 supported the anti-bullying campaign carried out by the Ambassadors for Respect.

Merrick's partnership with Peacemaker Minnesota continues with a common focus on sustainability and development of a strategic plan. Personal outreach increased significantly to 30 schools in an effort to build capacity and address fundraising options and opportunities.  Three elementary schools—Cowern, St. John the Baptist, and Castle—have become Peacemaker Foundation members. Funds raised by these schools will be matched with funds from the Foundation that could be used to provide compensation to the Ambassadors for Respect. Fourteen schools will be participating in the anti-bullying campaign in FFY 2017; Richardson Elementary School will be a direct recipient of Peacemaker Foundation funds.

The impact of the anti-bullying campaign can be measured by IPSII. In FFY 2016, 10 self advocates, Ambassadors for Respect, were teachers/trainers who planned and presented the training sessions, and evaluated themselves according to IPSII: increased independence = 5.0, increased productivity = 5.0, increased self-determination = 5.0, and increased integration and inclusion = 4.9 (5-point scale, 5 being highest). The impact on the Ambassadors for Respect themselves as a result of their teaching/training experiences in the classroom is also reflected in their personal comments:

  • "I really like how the students get involved in the activities."
  • "The teachers were super supportive."
  • "I thought Alysha did a nice job since it was her very first time with Ambassadors."
  • "I love going to this school—everyone is so into the presentation!"
  • "This was a first time presenting and it was awesome.  The kids were great."
  • "I felt a little rushed with each class back to back but I enjoy working with the classes.  I really like learning from others and being with the kids."

The impact on students and teachers can be seen in their specific comments about the training sessions.

From 4th grade students:

  • "I liked that you taught me to be strong and let no one let you down."
  • "I think it was helping because some bullies change."
  • "I really liked how you shared your personal stories. It really helped me know that I wasn't the only one being bullied."
  • "I loved what you were talking about and what you were saying today I will do except for the naughty ones."
  • "You guys made me a better person, not just on the outside but on the inside, too."
  • "I promise I will be nice, kind, and I will dream big."
  • "I really liked shredding those hurtful words that have been said to me."
  • "It really made me change my thoughts about people with disabilities."
  • "My baby brother knows what it feels like to be you because he has Down syndrome."

From teachers:

  • "I really enjoyed being able to sit back and participate along with the students. I had an intern that was impressed with the topic and was blown away with the preparedness of the presenters."
  • "I missed you when you came out last year so I could not wait until you came out today … the students really love the great activities you have going – it is a great hour to learn."
  • "Your presentation was organized so well and everyone was listening intently. It was an outstanding presentation."
  • "I felt very proud to have you there representing self advocates. You made a great impact on the 4th graders you spoke to and on me as well!! As a parent, your presentation is definitely something I would like my kids to hear."
  • "Fabulous job! My students are still talking about the lesson and activities. They remind each other about their acts of kindness."
  • "Thanks for all your work to promote kindness and respect."

From a school principal:

  • "Thank you for coming out and sharing with our 4th graders. I hear wonderful feedback from students and staff. I am hopeful that we can continue this for next year as well."

Merrick, Inc.
3210 Labore Road
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota 55110


The Council co-sponsored 12 training conferences during FFY 2016.  The total number of attendees was 1,324, overall rating was 9.1 (10-point scale), and 99% of participants rated the conferences as useful/helpful. The co-sponsorship funding level ranged from $550 to $ 2,000; funds are used primarily for scholarships, to offset the cost of registration fees that might prevent participants from attending, and/or speaker costs.
A majority of the conferences offered several breakout sessions for participants to focus their learning as well as gain new knowledge and skills in more than one topic area. These training events are also opportunities for organizations that are awarded co-sponsorship funds to promote and help recruit applicants for the Partners in Policymaking program.

The following organizations sponsored workshops or conferences at locations throughout the state:

  • Advocating Change Together Inc. (ACT, Inc.)—"Olmstead Academy sessions" (series of eight training sessions over four months presented the history of Olmstead and the Olmstead decision, the vision of Minnesota's Olmstead Plan, personal experiences of self advocates regarding "the most integrated setting;" and disability integration projects – selecting team projects, developing work plans, completing projects, making presentations about results); through an application process, 20 self advocates were selected to participate.
  • AIM of West Central Minnesota—"Annual Consumer Conference" (self-advocacy and self-sufficiency, and skill development in areas of advocacy, education, health, and the arts).
  • All Star Academy—"The Human Opportunities Through Powers of Employment (HOPE) Program" (options for building personal, family, community, business partnerships; strategies for building social capital; consults with employers about competitive and supported employment).
  • Arc of Freeborn County—"I have a dream…It's a possibility" (person-centered planning and person-centered thinking, and integrating these concepts into the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities).
  • Arc Greater Twin Cities—"Train the Trainer Conference on Sexual Health and Abuse Prevention" (20 module sexual health curriculum used).
  • The Arc Minnesota 2016 Annual Conference—"The Power of Relationships" (workshop sessions on building self-determination, Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS), and "Telling Your Story" app; and individual consultation time to address transition, employment, and housing issues).
  • Autism Society of Minnesota—"21st Annual Minnesota Autism Conference" (workshop sessions on transition and employment, challenging behaviors, emotional regulation, anxiety and mindfulness, best practices in a mental health setting).
  • Arc Southeastern Minnesota—"SAM SE Regional Conference" (workshop sessions on disability awareness, job development, personal empowerment, person-centered planning, civic engagement, and voting issues).
  • Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota—"2016 Youth & Adult Conference" (workshop sessions on community safety and basic first aid, sexuality and relationship issues, media and the arts, camping and survival skills, nutrition and healthy eating).
  • Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota—"2016 Epilepsy & Seizure Expo" (five educational tracks offered on current information about epilepsy, research, and new treatment options).
  • Polk County DAC/Minnesota Organization of Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR)—"Ability Beyond Disability" (two-day conference with separate tracks for administrators, direct care staff, and caregivers; sessions addressed federal and state updates on services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities, aging and dementia issues, mental illness, and changes/updates regarding home- and community-based standards; emphasis on self-determination, inclusion, person-centered planning, and personal choice).
  • Reach for Resources—"Success with Supported Employment" (employment choices, how to utilize personal skills in job searches, and success stories about customized and supported employment).

Impact Statements

Impact can be measured by the comments and feedback provided by attendees:

  • "The trainer was great and helped the group feel comfortable. Curriculum is amazing. I'm so grateful to everyone who helped make this a reality. Kudos to Katherine McLaughlin for her thorough training and wonderful attitude about a sensitive topic. Great training; I have learned a lot." (Arc Greater Twin Cities)
  • "Good to hear the self advocate stories. The self advocates who spoke did a wonderful job. A lot to think about and a lot to take in! Learned a lot and will put it to good use." (Arc of Freeborn County)
  • "Helped me to understand what Supported Employment Services offer. Nice to hear directly from workers and employers. It was great to see such a variety of ways Supported Employment Services have helped influence others' lives." (Reach for Resources)
  • "It has helped me to be a better self advocate." (Arc Southeastern Minnesota)
  • "This helped me make new friends. I was proud and honored to be one of the speakers. I liked participating during the talks." (Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota)
  • "Good idea to represent families with adult family members, teen age/young adults, and elementary age kids." (The Arc Minnesota)

ACT, Inc., Arc Greater Twin Cities, Arc Northland, Arc United, Autism Society of Minnesota, ARC Southeastern Minnesota, Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, Polk County DAC/Minnesota Organization of Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR), Reach for Resources, and West Central Industries


The Council has built a solid reputation by providing information, education and training through this goal. The Council administers several websites including its main one, the Partners in Policymaking® website; Minnesota Project SEARCH website; Disability Justice Resource Center; and the one-stop website. The Council also provides free online courses through the Partners website to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of visitors who take advantage of this learning experience. Highlights of work completed during FFY 2016:


The Council has digitized all of its historical publications and placed them online and. The Council also tracks the number of publications downloaded from the websites; the most popular items centered on positive behavior supports.

The current library of print publications includes the 8th edition of the Partners in Policymaking Handbook and a 2015 publication entitled Changing Lives, Changing Policies that describes the impact of the ADA and the Partners program on people's lives.

The Emergency Planning booklet and refrigerator magnet package has been updated in the past year and has proven effective in emergency planning training sessions. Two publications are still available in print format: Making Your Case and It's My Choice have been used by individuals of all ages. It's My Choice has been used in transition classes as one method of person-centered planning. Charlie and Maria Girsch contributed their stock of a creativity book that has been used in Partners classes; these books are also given away at state conferences.

Copies of the Olmstead Plan; the Star Tribune series about the Olmstead Plan; the Autism Resource Catalog; and the Ramsey County Historical Society magazine are also available from the Council office. The Council contributed to each of these publications.

Print Publications

A total of 5,972 publications were disseminated to individuals; a total of 1,820 publications and resource materials were disseminated to conference attendees and at presentations; 175 individual orders were filled with 100% on-time delivery. Evaluation results showed 100% rated the publications as useful and scored 9.5 (10-point scale, 10 being highest).

Council Website Additions

Several features or additions to features were added to the Council's website during FFY 2016 including:

  • Features
    • National Disability Employment Awareness month with links to existing resources;
    • Council history in five-year segments;
    • Partners Class 34 recruitment with articles, testimonials, and photos of Partners Class 33 graduates (weekly rotation);
    • Revised eighth edition of the Partners in Policymaking Coordinator's Handbook and forms;
    • New Parallels in Time product (merger of Parallels in Time and Parallels in Time, Part 2 using a responsive design format);
    • Faculty Index, Video Index, and articles added to the Disability Justice Resource Center;
    • Council meeting Minutes;
    • Grant activity updates and photos for the Partners program weekend sessions, On Eagles Wings Cultural Outreach program, Employment success stories, and Anti-Bullying Campaign training sessions;
    • 2015 Business Results and 2015 Annual Report (modified version of the PPR);
    • Updates to the Business/Organization Requirements and Record keeping page; and
    • New Five-Year State Plan items—Individual and Provider Survey results, proposed Goal Statements.
  • Additions to With an Eye to the Past
    • 1948 and 1950 Minneapolis Morning Tribune series, "Minnesota Bedlam and Minnesota Bedlam Revisited," and Access Press "History Notes" articles.
  • First-year recognition of Project SEARCH at the Mayo Clinic
    • Updated "Feeling Safe, Being Safe" emergency planning booklet;
    • Notices about the availability of funds for grant projects and activities, application forms and Requests for Proposal; and
    • Updates to the DD Act feature page—Family Members Serving on DD Councils and DD Act Funding Formulas.
  • Partners in Policymaking® website additions
    • Partners Longitudinal Studies for Classes 27-30 and Classes 28-31; and
    • Updates to the Partners coordinator list.

Council Website Visitors

In FFY 2016, Council website visitors totaled 412,213, and 75,012 visits were made via mobile devices. A total of 393,982 items were downloaded; an additional 4,188 video files were viewed.

Online Training Courses

The five basic courses were reviewed; suggestions and ideas were offered for updating the content. Updating will occur in FFY 2017. A Spanish translation of Partners in Living will be completed in FFY 2017. In FFY 2016, a total of 6,967 visits and 18,797 page views were made to the online courses.

A total of 202 people completed feedback forms. Impact can be measured by how individuals evaluated themselves in terms of IPSII: increased independence = 4.2; productivity = 4.2; self-determination = 4.1; and integration and inclusion = 4.2 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

In August 2016, the eighth edition of the Partners in Policymaking Handbook was released. This Handbook provided blended learning concepts of combining face-to-face training with the online training courses. All Partners forms were updated and provided in easy to use formats. Dissemination will continue into FFY 2017.

Project SEARCH website additions showcase worksites. The Council serves on the State Leadership Team that consists of representatives from the Departments of Education, Human Services, and Employment and Economic Development.  The impact of Project SEARCH is that it encourages other businesses to take an interest, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the State of Minnesota.  In FFY 2016, Project SEARCH was nominated by the Council and received a statewide community innovation award. Project SEARCH website visits for FFY 2016 were 1,372.


This site continues to be an outstanding resource as a one-stop website for all state disability programs and services. In FFY 2016, website visits totaled 43,961. This website is maintained in cooperation with the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans.

Disability Justice Resource Center

The Resource Center is an online collection of statutes, regulations, case law, and commentaries intended to help the legal community better understand the many complex justice issues related to people with disabilities, particularly individuals with developmental disabilities. The Resource Center was made possible with the cy pres fund from the Jensen Settlement Agreement.

Telling Your Story App

Android versions of the app for phone and tablet were released on April 25, 2014. Total downloads for FFY 2016 equaled 811; total from release, 3,379.

Autism 5-Point Scale EP App

Total downloads in FFY 2016 equaled 14,287; total from release, 46,992.


A total of 177 postings were made to the Council Facebook page. A total of 122,184 users made 216,279 visits, and 10,017 likes were recorded.
Postings included updates on Council grant activities, publications, customer research studies, online courses, Governor proclamations, Olmstead Plan announcements, webinars, career fairs, awards, historical interviews, employment resources, voting, the 45th anniversary of the Council, and state resources. These postings spanned all federal priority areas and help promote all Five-Year State Plan goals.

YouTube Channel and Pinterest

The Council created a YouTube channel for existing historical videos and new videos with historical significance.  A Pinterest link was created to Access Press, the Minnesota disability community newspaper, for access to disability history items. In FFY 2016, a total of 10,894 videos were viewed on the YouTube channel.


The Council has invested in SiteImprove, a web governance tool that scans webpages on an ongoing basis to find misspellings and broken links, and provides a complete overview of website accessibility issues along with specific recommendations to meet WCAG 2.0 standards. Reports are provided to the Council every three days so problems can be addressed immediately.


The Council has used GovDelivery for over ten years. Subscribers can create personal profiles and designate which of 13 web pages they want to receive automatic email notice when additions or changes are made.  In FFY 2016, there were 12, 560 subscribers.

Supplier: Mastcom
8707 Broadway Street NW, Suite 210
Minneapolis, MN 55418


An Individual and Family Survey, and a Provider Survey were designed to collect input from individuals with developmental disabilities and family members as well as service providers for the Five-Year State Plan (2017-2021). The Individual and Family Survey repeated questions from surveys conducted in 2000, 2005, and 2010. The Provider Survey asked about top priorities for the next five years.

The Council identified a broad range of culturally diverse organizations to assure representation of people with developmental disabilities, families, advocates and professionals to participate in the surveys. This outreach meant contacting and working with hundreds of groups and individuals, encouraging them to take the survey or attend a community meeting.

Individual and Family Survey

There were 531 respondents to the Individual and Family Survey. The racial and ethnicity breakdown of respondents was close to the statewide demographics:

  • 63% White respondents compared to 81% of the population;
  • 11% African American or Black respondents compared to 5.8% of the population;
  • 3% Asian respondents compared to 4.8% of the population;
  • 3% Hispanic respondents compared to 5.2% of the population; and
  • 2% American Indian or Native American respondents compared to 1% of the population.

The demographic profile for the Individual and Family Survey:

  • Individuals with developmental disabilities independently answering (14%);
  • Parent or family member assisting an individual with a developmental disability (69%); and
  • Friend or advocate assisting an individual with a developmental disability (27%).

Multiple responses were allowed. The respondents tended to be from the metropolitan areas (72%) compared to Greater Minnesota (28%). The age breakdown of respondents was as follows:

  • 18 and under (15%);
  • 19-34 (15%);
  • 35-44 (29%); and
  • 45+ (41%).

Results for individuals and family members included:

  • Satisfaction with productivity has been consistently higher than satisfaction with the other outcomes (independence, self-determination, integration and inclusion) in every year this study has been repeated.
  • The younger the age group, the more dissatisfied with the level of integration and inclusion.
  • For adults with developmental disabilities and ages 19 and older, having a job outside the home appears to be highly correlated with satisfaction with all elements of IPSII.
  • About 2/3 of all respondents believe their community is a good place for people with developmental disabilities.
  • The following three statements represent areas of most needed improvement: (a) I have enough money to live on; (b) I know what to do if my health or safety is in jeopardy; and (c) my future will be secure, even if something happens to my parents and current staff member, friends or advocate.
  • The most important critical issues in the next five years were: (a) access to services and supports and adequate funding or resources; (b) access to affordable, appropriate housing for those 19-34 years old, (c) better employment opportunities especially for those who are 14-34 years old; and (d) better access to inclusion in public education is important to the younger age groups.

FFY 2016 customer survey results of individuals and families are available at:

Provider Survey

There were 286 providers that participated in the Provider Survey. The demographic breakdown was 63% from the Metro area and 37% from Greater Minnesota. Private providers comprised 40% of respondents; and government or public sector providers totaled 60% of respondents. Respondents came from agencies representing employment, education, self-advocacy, recreation, quality assurance, health, housing, early intervention, and child care.

Respondents were asked to rate the quality of services being offered to individuals with developmental disabilities. Early intervention, recreation, education and self-advocacy were rated above 4.0 on a scale of 1-7 with 7 as excellent. Employment was the highest rated topic for improvement with 75% of the respondents choosing it as a high priority. Employment was followed by self-advocacy and housing. The survey also asked for what is working well and what needs to be improved across all the federal priority areas. A total of 61 pages of statements in response to these questions are summarized in the report.

For more information about the FFY 2016 Provider Survey results:

MarketResponse International
1304 University Ave. NE, Suite 304
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413


Since 1998, the Council has adopted the federally supported Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a systematic framework for improvement of performance and in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. By learning and adopting these principles, the annual Business Results provide trend lines, and reflect changes and improvements for Council operations.

The Business Results highlight evaluation data and DD Act outcomes—independence, productivity, self-determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII). The Baldrige Criteria also align with the federally required logic model and Results Based Accountability, the overall framework adopted by the State of Minnesota.

Working with the Quality Culture Institute in FFY 2016, the following work was completed:

  • Stakeholder and customer surveys were conducted using Survey Monkey and analyzed for actionable items. The Council works to innovate and improve existing products and services, and analyze impact based upon customer input.
  • Annual Business Results were reviewed and critiqued to identify and understand where and how improvements can be made to increase customer satisfaction and IPSII results.
  • Meta-analysis reports were prepared in the area of IT, websites, and apps. Since the greatest reach of the Council is through its online presence, this was an opportune time to look back at all customer surveys conducted in the IT area. The meta-analysis offered insights into customer needs, requirements and expectations. The two Council apps were reviewed for usability issues and the Council websites were also reviewed for content and visual design upgrades. Work will be underway during FFY 2017 to make upgrades as needed.

Training on Quality

Council staff/members received a total of 486 person-hours of training (444 person-hours of core learning on DD issues and 42 person-hours of training on quality principles related to the Baldrige Framework).

Stakeholder Survey

The annual stakeholder satisfaction survey was conducted with an emphasis on messages about the 45th Anniversary of the Council. A total of 75 stakeholder surveys were disseminated; 35 were received with specific comments about Council strengths and distinct comments regarding opportunities for improvement.  Overall satisfaction with Council activities leading to self-determination and community participation was rated 5.97; impact on community participation was rated 5.97; and impact on choices/control was rated 5.94 (6-point scale, 6 being highest).
Examples of categories of strengths identified in the survey included:

  • Leadership and influence;
  • Excellence in services and supports to people;
  • Positive impact on people's lives;
  • Innovation; and
  • Historical preservation work.

Opportunities for improvement included:

  • Applying new methods for human design offered by IDEO;
  • Pursue more funding; and
  • Increase marketing of Council products and services.

Annual Business Results

These results are based on the Council's annual work plan that is aligned with the Baldrige Criteria. Increases or improvements and trend data in customer results, financial or market results, and supplier results are tracked over several years and represented on charts and graphs for easy reading and comparison.

Data results most recently added include Facebook/social media, video files, and website visits via mobile browsers. Trend lines are showing significant increases in these changing technologies and reflect how customers seek/exchange information in the 21st century.  ROI on website results overall exceeded 10%.

This work enables the Council to show results in all three quadrants of Results-Based Accountability—outputs, efficiencies, and outcomes.

Supplier: Quality Culture Institute
1204 Woodridge Place
Owatonna, Minnesota 55060


During FFY 2016, the Council had 4,126 unique customer contacts about individual programs and 90 unique contacts about the Partners in Policymaking program. Considering repeat customers, a total of 20,397 technical assistance contacts were made. A total of 1,251 compliments were received regarding technical assistance, timeliness and presentations, products, services, and Partners in Policymaking.


During FFY 2016, a total of 20 presentations reached 828 people.

Public Policy

The following public policy issues were addressed at the state level:

Accessibility and Accommodation

  • ADA complaints against a post office
  • Centralized Accommodation Fund launched inside state government
  • Accessible meeting guidelines reviewed
  • ADA nuisance lawsuits


  • Inclusive Schools Week proclamation by the Governor
  • Student discipline working group
  • Special education paperwork restrictions
  • Positive Behavior Interventions and supports (PBIS) expansion to more schools


  • Department of Human Rights finding of probable cause for a person with a disability applying to be a customer services representative
  • Connect 700 Hour program launched
  • Subminimum wage interviews underway
  • VRS extended employment rule changes
  • Employment options added to waiver
  • PCP bulletins released
  • VRS order of selection and informed choice flowchart


  • Payment of autism therapies by private insurance companies
  • Dental benefits and access to dental care
  • Special Needs Basic Care with Health Partners
  • Disparity studies about health care outcomes

Housing and Residential Services

  • Review of Minnesota Statewide Transition Plan submitted to CMS (CMS Final Rule)
  • Class action lawsuit filed regarding overuse of group homes
  • Adult foster care and community residential setting license capacity variance for five adults
  • Residential care and service monitoring work group formed
  • Law school paper regarding institutions
  • OSHA report about unsafe conditions at MSH-Saint Peter

Olmstead Plan

  • Olmstead Plan approval of Assistive Technology and Preventing Abuse goals
  • Implementation of the Olmstead Plan

Services and Supports

  • Home Care bill of rights
  • Star Tribune coverage of "invisible caregivers"—children taking care of family members
  • Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention program
  • Office of Legislative Auditor evaluation study of HCBS services
  • Notice of class action against DHS regarding mismanagement of funds appropriated for the waiver programs
  • Waiting list lawsuit and Star Tribune coverage of waiting list issues
  • National Core Indicators results released
  • CDCS expansion and budget revisions including a rate increase for those students graduating from schools
  • Waiver financial eligibility rules regarding income and assets of spouses
  • Parental fees challenged
  • MA reform includes proposed income and asset limit changes
  • Best Life Alliance (5% Campaign)
  • Star Tribune series about Olmstead Plan issues
  • Proposed waiver amendments to expand employment for individuals with disabilities
  • MOHR position paper about proposed amendments to DD Waiver
  • DSH case management redesign
  • Waiver rate-setting system
  • Gaps analysis report
  • Waiver amendment language about medical restraints
  • Transition of MSOCS services report


  • Self-driving vehicles work group
  • Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan


  • 26th Anniversary of the ADA
  • Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center public awareness campaign launched
  • Metro Mobility sexual assault conviction
  • Equity bill proposed to change definition of disability to ADA definition and includes hardship exclusion (retirement and college savings accounts)
  • Budget surplus grew
  • Capstone project
  • CLE at Robin Kaplan law firm regarding disability justice
  • State Quality Council and plans for three regional councils
  • Audit of targeted group businesses and amount of funding for businesses owned by people with disabilities
  • Assisted suicide bill
  • Signage in the Senate Building
  • Intersectionality of race and disability studies
  • Voter rights and voting registration

The following public policy issues were addressed at the federal level:


  • FDA proposed rulemaking regarding ban on electrical stimulation devices
  • Proposed language for ADA abuse lawsuit

Accessibility and Accommodations

  • Disability Integration Act


  • Every Student Succeeds Act
  • Inclusive Transition Programs


  • National Disability Employment Policy Awareness Month
  • Oregon lawsuit and settlement agreement and Court Order regarding sheltered workshops
  • WIOA implementation and compliance documents, final rules and guidance on reporting
  • CMS performance based payment options for employment services
  • Reform of Ability One program
  • MOU regarding sharing of information between the National Disability Rights Network and the US Dept. of Labor regarding potential subminimum wage violations


  • Zika funding

Housing and Residential Services

  • NBC KING 5 News Seattle series about deinstitutionalization including interviews of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities.
  • HUD Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
  • DOJ lawsuit regarding overuse of nursing homes in South Dakota
  • Medicaid coverage of housing related services
  • Implementation of HCBS settings rule

Services and Supports

  • Medicaid Changes or Reductions
  • Family Caregivers Act
  • Autism CARES Act of 2014 and Development of 2016 Strategic Plan
  • AIDD and the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals joint statement on a comprehensive approach to address direct support workforce issues
  • President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities 2015 Report
  • Truven Waiver Data Report
  • Medicaid Access Rule
  • Department of Labor Home Care Rule and Overtime
  • DOJ Civil Rights Division funding to address increase in cases regarding accessible technology, employment and students with mental health issues living on campus


  • AIDD Diversity Initiative
  • Social Security Benefits Payment Act
  • Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
  • DD Council funding
  • Social Media Policy shared with other Councils through NACDD
  • ABLE Act policies and implementation plans; IRS Interim Guidance about ABLE Accounts
  • Backlog of SSI and SSDI claims
  • CMS Competitive Bidding practices
  • Transition to Independence Act
  • Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program
  • Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act
  • Congressional Reconciliation Bill
  • Supplemental Security Payments


Council resource materials and publications are marketed and disseminated throughout the year at presentations and conferences as well as the Partners in Policymaking classroom program and cultural outreach program. A total of 3,373 print items were disseminated at conferences and presentations.

Additions to the Council and Partners websites are posted to Facebook; total of 61,843 Facebook users and 122,320 visits/views.

Updates or significant changes to 107 web pages were automatically disseminated to 62,468 GovDelivery subscribers.

A total of 7,900 visits were made to the online courses.

A total of 334,401 visits were made to the Council and Partners websites, 41,152 visits were made to, and 61,629 visits were made via mobile devices.

A total of 373,778 items were downloaded from the Council and Partners websites; an additional 70,350 video files were downloaded.

There were 4,287 downloads of the Autism 5-Point Scale EP app (total of 32,705 since release) and 531 downloads of the "Telling our Story" app (total of 2,568 since release).


Partners in Policymaking $210,000
Cultural Outreach Programs $50,000
Employment $80,000
Self-Advocacy $120,000
Training Conferences $20,000
EGS, Online Learning, Publications $193,455
Customer Research $50,000
Quality Improvement $20,000
TOTAL $743,455

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©2021 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 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 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

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.