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The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
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.


Published November 20, 2020

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 of 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. This Annual Report summarizes the results of the FFY 2020 program goals.

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Lee Shervheim, Chair
Jason Blomquist
Kay Hendrikson
Lesli Kerkhoff
Kate Onyeneho
Dan Reed
Dan Stewart
Michelle Albeck
Dupree Edwards
Brittanie Hernandez-Wilson
Mary Martin
Garrett Petrie
Jacqueline Rightler
Krista Lynn Bahnsen
Lisa Emmert
Amy Hewitt
Jillian Nelson
Kate Quale
Reid Scheller
Wendy Berghorst
Jaclyn Ferrier
Senator John Hoffman
Stacey Nelson
Connie Rabideaux
Bonnie Jean Smith


Independence: Personal freedom to make choices and have control over services, supports, and other assistance the individual receives.

Productivity: Meaningful income-producing work or volunteer work that contributes to a household or the community.

Self-determination: Authority to make decisions, control resources, and develop personal leadership skills.

Integration and Inclusion: Full participation in the same community activities as people without disabilities.


The Council received $1,092,901 from the Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) for FFY 2020.


In FFY 2020, Class 37 of Partners in Policymaking® (Partners) graduated 34 advocates: 10 identified as self-advocates; 22 identified as parents of children with disabilities; two identified as both; and eight identified with racial and ethnic 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 using a 5-point scale, with 5 being the highest:

  • Independence increased from 4.4 to 4.7;
  • Productivity increased from 4.0 to 4.6;
  • Self-determination increased from 4.0 to 4.7; and
  • Integration and Inclusion increased from 3.4 to 4.1.

Graduates rated their knowledge gained at 4.9, the usefulness of the presentations at 4.9, and quality of the training sessions at 4.9. Ninety-three percent (93%) reported customer satisfaction and improvement in IPSII.

Two graduate workshops were held.  One two-day workshop, on August 21-22, 2020, addressed "The Role of the Federal Government: From Words on Paper to Reality", "Person Centered Thinking and Person Centered Planning", and "Inclusive Post-Secondary Options for Persons with Intellectual Disability." Presenters included Allan Bergman, Bonnie Jean Smith, and Jean and Mary Hauff.  A second workshop was held on August 29, 2020 and Patrick Schwarz presented on "Inclusive Education." Forty-two graduates (duplicated count) participated in the courses.

The ratings for IPSII were:

  • Independence = 3.92;
  • Productivity = 3.88;
  • Self-determination = 3.92; and
  • Integration and Inclusion = 3.68.

Participants comments included:

  • The resources and people you have exposed participants to in the nine-month program were phenomenal. Having access to answers to get problems solved, or equipment to assist families with children with disabilities or waivers to support families over-burdened by financial barriers changed my life.
  • The Partners® program is effectively making a difference in the lives of people challenged with disabilities.
  • Knowledge is truly power. I now have a bridge to knowledge and resources to change the lives of others.
  • I am better prepared for the journey [that includes discrimination] because of the tools I garnered in Partners.
  • Without the people, packets and PowerPoint presentations you shared, I would not know where to get resolutions to the layered levels of disadvantages that impoverished, female, people of color with disabilities are challenged within this great state of Minnesota.


Partners in Policymaking 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. Several of the past Minnesota Partners classes have started their own Facebook pages and information is disseminated through liaisons for each graduating class.


During FFY 2020, Dr. Nancy Miller, Metropolitan State University, conducted a follow-up survey of Partners graduates from Class 36 and a longitudinal study of Years XXXIII through XXXV (Classes 33 through 35). The report was submitted on May 18, 2020.

Class 36 Follow-up Survey

The Class 36 Six-Month Follow-up Survey tracked contacts with public officials. A total of 41 federal contacts (29%), 62 state contacts (22%); and 67 local contacts (22%) were reported. Contacts were made primarily by email, followed next by telephone and then by personal visits.

Class 36 respondents reported that they worked on employment issues with public officials. A total of 28 federal contacts (29%); 50 state contacts (22%); and 38 local (21%) jobs were reported.

Class 36 took opportunities to educate the public. They estimated their number of contacts at:

  • Testified at Public Hearing = 9;
  • Presentation (parent/community group) = 52;
  • Presentation (conference) = 11;
  • Served on a committee = 27;
  • Appeared on TV or radio = 7; and
  • Articles/Editorials Published = 7.

Classes 33, 34 and 35

The average IPSII scores over the three classes of the longitudinal study were:

  • Independence = 4.1
  • Productivity = 3.8
  • Self-determination = 4.4
  • Integration and Inclusion = 4.3

The 82 Longitudinal Study respondents identified significant changes in the areas of education, employment, housing, family support, services/supports, legislative, and other areas that they attribute to their Partnersexperience. Some comments are as follows:

  • I have been able to better advocate for my son and his needs. Some of the biggest changes have been able to get my son on a waiver that he needed and to become a member of SEAC in his school district.
  • Better able to advocate regarding my son's education needs. More involved with advocacy efforts, have developed relationships with district representatives, attended multiple 'Days on the Hill', etc., My son and I have both grown in confidence and my son is now learning to advocate for himself. He recently gently 'fired' me, saying, 'I'll let you know, mom, if I need your help.' Very proud of him!
  • I have become more resourceful in looking for innovations in early employment for my son; I support many families with children and share my know-how and resources daily.
  • I'm self-employed, on my second book, a blogger and disability rights advocate.

The Odyssey Group
1730 New Brighton Blvd, Suite 104 - #237
Minneapolis, MN 55413


The Council has funded a cultural outreach program in minority communities since 1992. In FFY 2020, 40 individuals were aided by the Council's subgrantee, Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS). The program is focused on providing outreach and meeting the needs of Somali refugees and immigrant families and, since 2017, expanding their services for members of the Latinx Community including both children and adults with disabilities. Outreach is vital to immigrant groups in Southern Minnesota as they tend to be more recent arrivals, and many do not have a prior diagnosis with an underlying developmental disability.

The first training program included six sessions totaling 36 hours of face-to-face training 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. The subgrantee worked directly with individuals, families, and county social services personnel to educate the immigrant community about the eligibility criteria and enrollment process for waivers.

In FFY 2020, eleven (11) people applied for waivers, and five (5) people within the immigrant community received waivers and began receiving home and community-based services.

These individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are more aware of services available, more educated on what to do to receive those services, and more connected to support personnel at the local and county levels, all of which result in an improvement in quality of life.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Minnesota Governor's "stay at home" order, the second training program was moved to a virtual presentation model and held during Ramadan. This caused some drop off in attendance as families' routines were disrupted by school closings with children at home, work schedules, and working through online technology and connectivity issues.

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 2020, IPSII increased from an average of 2.6 to 3.6 (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 4.25 for knowledge gained, 4.2 for usefulness, and 4.45 for quality of training. The participants rated the program with 100% satisfaction.

Testimonials about this program goal are provided below.

  • My daughter's disability affects my life in so many ways.I learned a lot from the disability training. I learned the rights of disabled people, where to find resources, and about the waiver. I only knew about having a PCA to help before and found out that there were more services available through a waiver.
  • I met the supervisor of the Mental Health Department at Rice County.
  • There is a big difference with my child through the training.
  • To get a waiver is a change. We now get parental pay, resources that we need like a bed and wheelchair, and connection to 'Help Me Grow,' which helps with school and physical therapy.
  • I learned [from disability training] that there might be help from Rice County for different services. I learned that many children have ADHD and what an IEP is all about. I learned to speak up and ask for services for my son.

Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS)
201 S. Lyndale Ave., Suite 1
Faribault, MN 55021


During FFY 2020, this customized employment project assisted 18 transition students in providing a range of services through the Discovery Process including job exploration and counseling, job seeking skills, job shadowing, informational interviews, and post-secondary exploration counseling. 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.

Two transition students pursued post-secondary education, and 4 students and 10 adults with developmental disabilities began employment in jobs of their choosing. Transition students worked from 15 - 40 hours per week with wages ranging from $9.50 - $18.00 per hour.  The adults with developmental disabilities who were employed worked from 15 - 40 hours per week, with an average of 19.3 hours per week. Average wages were $13.25 per hour.

IPSII scores for transition students and adults with developmental disabilities who were employed averaged:

  • Independence = 3.6
  • Productivity = 3.8
  • Self-determination = 3.4
  • Inclusion and Integration = 2.9

Through the Discovery Process, 104 businesses were contacted in FFY 2020 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 finding jobs of their choosing, increasing their hours or wages, or changing jobs to expand their skills and work in other fields of interest.

Businesses employing adults and students this year included: Wal-Mart, Target, Panera Bread, White Castle, Kowalski's Groceries, MME Group, Costco, Arc Value Village, Bethel University, Spirit of Halloween, Fed Ex, Informatix, Woodbury 10 Independent Movie Theatre, and Woodwinds Hospital.

Upstream Arts, an organization that uses the arts to develop social and communication skills for people with disabilities, supported artists with developmental disabilities to realize artwork sales totaling over $6,000 during FFY 2020.

A Co-Collegiate Program through Inver Hills Community College paired one transition student with a mentor who provided direct assistance with the logistical details of beginning a post-secondary education process and will continue providing support services during the school year.  Both young women are majoring in Education.

A pilot project in partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation Services will deliver Pre-Employment Transition Services to students at Minneapolis high schools. The project was expected to begin in the fall at the start of the school year.

Please note that COVID-19 had a serious effect on all aspects of the employment goal, as businesses closed and furloughed long-term, permanent employees, as well as new employees with developmental disabilities. Combined with the civil unrest in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020, employment goals gave way to peoples' choices to postpone actively pursuing employment for risk and health reasons. Many individuals with developmental disabilities have chosen to take the time offered by the pandemic to focus more on the discovery and exploration phases of employment, and work on their resume-writing and interviewing skills.

Midwest Special Services
900 Ocean Street
St. Paul, MN 55106


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 regional 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 Minnesota Olmstead Plan, which is a cross-disability effort.

During FFY 2020, a total of $200,000 in federal funds supported the SAM Central and Northwest regions. Sixteen training sessions in the Central and Northwest regions addressed disability rights and history, policy issues and telling your story, employment and volunteering, civic engagement and voting rights, community integration and inclusion; 44 self-advocates attended. Advocating Change Together, Inc. (ACT) conducts the Disability Equality Training Series (DETS), a series of 12 one-hour courses that cover the self-advocacy cycle, building personal power, connecting to disability rights, and building better communities, was offered in seven locations throughout the state; 53 self-advocates completed DETS.

A total of 97 self-advocates evaluated these training sessions. On a 5-point scale, with 5 being the highest, knowledge gained = 4.74, usefulness = 4.65, and quality of presentations = 4.78.

Olmstead Academy

Advocating Change Together, Inc. (ACT) created an Olmstead Academy in FFY 2014 and has continued offering the Academy on an annual basis. The Academy includes training sessions on disability rights, leadership skills, 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. Nine self-advocates from four teams in the Central and Northwest regions participated in this year's Academy.  Evaluation results included knowledge gained = 4.6, usefulness = 4.8, quality of presentations = 4.8.

IPSII scores averaged:

  • Independence = 4.6
  • Productivity = 4.9
  • Self-determination = 4.3
  • Inclusion and Integration = 4.6

Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Avenue, Suite 306
St Paul, MN 55104

Anti-bullying Campaign and Ambassadors for Respect

During FFY 2020, PeaceMaker Minnesota worked with Merrick, Inc. to sponsor Ambassadors for Respect, an anti-bullying program that supported 54 self-advocates to become trainers for 4th grade students. Nine (9) self-advocate trainers were from Merrick and 45 trainers were students in transition programs in Minneapolis, North St. Paul, and St. Cloud. All trainers were certified to be Ambassadors. In FFY 2020, 11 elementary schools received training sessions reaching over 557 4th graders, teachers, and principals. Most promising of all, there were 128 students with disabilities who participated in the program because they were fully included in the general education classes!

Due to COVID-19, many of the transition programs that had planned to conduct Ambassadors for Respect trainings were unable to participate as originally planned. PeaceMaker Minnesota provided a means to engage Ambassadors and continue with program goals through training videos. A total of 30 distance learning training videos were created between April 2020 and September 2020.

Elementary school students evaluated the training sessions; on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the highest, knowledge gained = 4.5, usefulness = 4.5, and quality of presentations = 4.7.

Testimonials from 4th grade students about this program goal:

  • I learned to include people and be kind to all and thankful for what you have.
  • Everyone is different, but the same.
  • I learned how to put the person first. It's better to say the person's name, not their disability.
  • I learned that your words and actions affect others. Also, just because someone has a disability, doesn't make them any different from you.

Forty-one Ambassadors for Respect evaluated themselves in terms of IPSII, and based on the leadership skills and self-confidence they gained in preparing and presenting the training sessions:

  • Independence = 4.5
  • Productivity = 4.3
  • Self-determination = 4.3
  • Inclusion and Integration = 4.4

New products were also created to supplement the original Ambassadors for Respect Handbook, help promote and market the program, and provide teaches with resources and teaching tools to build on the classroom training experience for students.

PeaceMaker Minnesota
2131 Fairview Avenue North, Suite E
Roseville, MN 55113

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


The Council co-sponsored 11 training conferences during FFY 2020. The total number of attendees was 1,069 and the overall rating was 99% out of a possible 100%. The co-sponsorship funding was used primarily for scholarships, in order to offset the cost of registration fees that might prevent participants from attending, and for speaker costs.

Many of the conferences offered breakout sessions for participants to select one or more areas where they would like to expand their learning and gain more in-depth knowledge and skills. Examples included: budgeting; housing; sexuality; international experiences; supported decision making; research findings; documentary films; parenthood and experiences of siblings; transitions through age groups; social justice; grief and loss; the sandwich generation; future planning; and leadership strategies. Conferences included:

Testimonials from the National Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) about this program goal:

  1. Advocating Change Together – "Disability Power Days"
  2. Minnesota Autism Conference – Four-Day Conference
  3. Northeast Contemporary Services – Writer's Workshop for Self-Advocates
  4. Valley Friendship Club – Writer's Workshop – Finding Your Voice
  5. Sounds Powerful Productions – Create Your Own Podcast and Radio Episode
  6. ACCORD – Bringing Possibilities to Life
  7. Lifeworks – Virtual Self-Advocacy Conference
  8. Southside Services – Creative Writing 101
  9. Special Olympics Minnesota – Leadership University
  10. Strive Publishing – Writer's Workshop for African American Adults with Developmental Disabilities
  11. All Star Academy – Career Readiness


The Council has built a solid reputation by providing information, education, and training through this goal with 861,579 visitors and over 3.25 million downloads in FFY 2020. There is unprecedented interest in learning about positive behavioral supports and person-centered planning. The Council administers several websites including its main one, Partners in Policymaking®, Minnesota Project SEARCH, Disability Justice Resource Center, and the one-stop Disability Minnesota website.

Print Publications

A total of 1,095 print publications were disseminated with individual orders filled with 100% on-time delivery. Evaluation results showed 100% rated the publications as useful and scores averaged 10.0 (10-point scale, 10 being highest). Assessment of IPSII ranged from 3.5 – 4.6 on a 5-pt. scale, and the overall rating was a 9.8 out of 10 across all publications.

Council Website Features

In FFY 2020, several features were created to highlight public policy issues, and educational materials and resources for a broad range of website visitors:

  • Bill of Rights Training Package for supervised living facilities, including a series of situational videos; a Workbook for individuals in these facilities; and a Handbook for staff, families, advocates, and educators.
  • Treat People Like People – a public awareness social media campaign on the prevention of abuse and neglect, person centered planning, and legal and human rights.
  • "Hadamar: The Forgotten Holocaust," a powerful 16-minute documentary focused on Hitler's order to kill hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in order to create a master race.
  • Jeff Moyer's performance of "The ADA Anthem," music and lyrics that he composed and sang on the signing of the ADA on July 26, 1990.
  • Video interview with former US Senator Dave Durenberger and his reflections on the 30th anniversary of the ADA.
  • Video interview with Ann Turnbull, co-founder of the Beach Center on Disability and Professor Emerita at the University of Kansas, on research she conducted about family support and quality of life, family-professional partnerships, and community inclusion.
  • Catalogued collection of 510 videos on ten topic areas from disability history to justice and access to the courts.

In FFY 2020, Council website visitors totaled 861,579 and 2,683 visits were made via mobile devices. The sites were visited over 1.1 million times. A total of over 3.26 million items were downloaded; an additional 64,169 video files were viewed.

Telling Your Story App

The Telling Your Story app is a tool that can be used by persons with disabilities, family members, and other advocates who have thought, "I'd like to make a difference, but I don't know how." "Telling Your Story," based on the Making Your Case publication, is a practical guide that individuals can use to compose and practice the personal story they'll present to elected public officials or other policymakers when seeking policy changes or increasing awareness about disability issues. The app gives step-by-step instructions, from introducing oneself to identifying the specific issue to the best methods for presenting a compelling personal story. Users can also select and preview a photo they may wish to include to make an even more impactful presentation. An updated and revised version was released on July 1, 2020. "Telling Your Story" is available from the Apple store for iPhone and iPod Touch; an Android version is available for tablet and phone at Google Play. Downloads for FFY 2020 equaled 718. Since its original release, this app has been downloaded 10,146 times.

Disability Minnesota

This site continues to be a centralized resource as a one-stop website for all state disability programs and services. In FFY 2020, website visits totaled 34,256 with 25,842 visitors. 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. There were 89,490 visitors in FFY 2020.


The Council continues to post information on a regular basis. There were 630,466 users with a reach of almost 700,000 feeds.
With an Eye to the Future summarizes key moments in disability history and begins at the year 2000. It had 470,750 visits in FFY 2020, doubling the number of visits from last year.


The Council created a YouTube channel for existing historical videos and new videos with historical significance. In FFY 2020, a total of 64,169 videos were viewed.


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.

5775 Wayzata Blvd., #700
St. Louis Park, MN 55416


The GCDD conducts research studies to measure and assess quality outcomes of the federal DD Act through annual qualitative and quantitative surveys on new topics and issues or further research on topics and issues previously studied. In early FY 2020 the Council conducted three customer research studies – two were surveys of individuals with developmental disabilities and families, and service providers; and one was a general population survey.  Please note that all attitudes and opinions expressed in these studies were taken prior to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Attitudes Regarding Quality of Life for People with Developmental Disabilities Among Advocates and Self-Advocates (2020);
  2. Impact of the Federal Disabilities Laws: Survey of Attitudes Among the General Population of Minnesota Towards People with Developmental Disabilities (2020);
  3. The Voice of Service Providers for People with Developmental Disabilities in Minnesota (2020);

The GCDD identified a broad range of culturally diverse organizations to assure representation of people with developmental disabilities, families, advocates and professionals in racial and ethnic communities 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.

Quality of Life Study

The Quality of Life Survey has been completed every five years since 2000, allowing for trend lines and gaps analysis over a twenty-year period. This survey determined levels of satisfaction with Independence, Productivity, Self-determination, and Integration and Inclusion (IPSII) among people with developmental disabilities in Minnesota.

Perceptions among people with developmental disabilities reveal evidence of improvement between 2000 and 2020 in Independence, Self-determination, and (possibly) Integration. One aspect of Integration showing the most improvement over past years is the perception of being treated with respect by people without disabilities. However, there is no evidence of improvements over the last 20 years in Inclusion or levels of Productivity among adults. Note that employment outside of the home correlates with all elements of IPSII.

Impact of the Federal Disabilities Laws: Survey of Attitudes Among the General Population of Minnesota Towards People with Developmental Disabilities

Respondents rated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements related to people with developmental disabilities and selected quality of life issues; and their awareness, familiarity, and impact on the community regarding three federal laws - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

For the General Population Survey, of the 920 respondents, 227 respondents were individuals with a developmental disability or an immediate family member. The geographic dispersion of respondents to the survey closely matched that of the general population of Minnesota. Efforts were made to administer the survey among racial and ethnic minority communities in Minnesota, while achieving a final survey sample that closely matches the age, race, ethnic and gender diversity of the Minnesota adult population.

While attitudes changed dramatically between 1962 and 2007, many attitudes have remained unchanged for nearly the past two decades. The 2020 study reveals that, for most Minnesotans, it is important to help people with developmental disabilities live to their full potential, and people with developmental disabilities have the potential to be productive workers.

Overall, the ADA has the highest level of awareness among the general population at 74% awareness, compared to the DD Act at 24% awareness, and IDEA at 25% awareness.  Among those who are aware, nearly 1 in 4 respondents said they are 'aware but not at all familiar' with these federal laws.

Over two-thirds of the general population believe that laws passed on behalf of people with developmental disabilities have had a positive impact on the community.  There is a perception that the ADA has had the strongest positive impact with 77% of respondents providing a positive rating.

Service Providers Survey (2020)

This survey was an online quantitative study of 206 service providers to understand their perspectives regarding Independence, Productivity, Self-determination, Integration and Inclusion (IPSII).
Providers strongly believe there is a need to invest in higher wages for Direct Support Professionals and that fair compensation and training will help to:

  • Decrease the current high turnover rates which disrupts the continuity of services for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Improve the quality of service provided to people with developmental disabilities. 

MarketResponse International, Inc.
PO Box 26395
2700 Louisiana Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55426


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.

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.


In FY 2020, Quality Improvement involved several separate initiatives:

  1. The Olmstead Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of People with Disabilities
  2. "Treat People Like People" Campaign
  3. Bill of Rights for People Residing in Supervised Living Facilities

The Olmstead Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of People with Disabilities

Victimization of people with disabilities is a serious, persistent, and pervasive problem. People with disabilities cannot live self-determined lives as envisioned by the American with Disabilities Act and the Minnesota Olmstead Plan if they are being abused. While Minnesota is taking steps to improve its reporting and response systems, similar efforts had not yet been made to prevent abuse and neglect; protection efforts were merely remedial.

 In 2016 the Olmstead Subcabinet added a goal to develop a comprehensive plan to educate people with disabilities, their families, and the public on how to identify and report abuse and neglect and to develop a comprehensive prevention plan. In 2020, the Plan came to life by outlining promising actions that can be taken before the abuse and neglect occurs. The framework includes action areas: primary prevention, risk reduction education and outreach, secondary prevention early recognition and response, and tertiary prevention long-term response intervention and evaluation.

Summary of Recommendations

  1. Create primary prevention strategies that focus on removing the causes of abuse and neglect before it happens.
  2. Provide education that focuses on ensuring people with disabilities have the knowledge and skills necessary to exercise their rights to protect themselves from abuse and neglect.
  3. Provide education for family members and supporters on the importance of autonomy and self-choice for people with disabilities in reducing the individual's risk of abuse and neglect.
  4. Increase awareness and education of the general public on how to report suspected abuse and neglect and where to access services and support for survivors.
  5. Educate disability service providers, adult and child protection agencies, criminal justice systems, health care providers and others on the incidence of abuse and neglect, effective response models, and each other's roles in the system.
  6. Prevent re-victimization by treating the immediate needs of victims and creating a system of accountability to stop perpetrators from re-offending.
  7. Complete routine data analysis to identify priority areas to target long term prevention strategies, reduce abuse and neglect, promote healing, and prevent re-offending.
  8. This comprehensive prevention plan, when fully implemented, aims to reduce the likelihood of abuse occurring, and when it does occur, people with disabilities will receive timely and effective response, protection, and support.

The plan builds on Olmstead Plan efforts to elevate the status of people with disabilities in our society by ensuring that they are leaders and partners in the State's comprehensive abuse and neglect prevention efforts.

 "Treat People Like People" Campaign

"Treat People Like People – Abuse Stops With Us" is a high-profile new state advertising campaign designed to raise awareness of abuse of adults with disabilities. The campaign is part of the Olmstead Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect. The campaign was initiated by the Minnesota Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (OMHDD) and the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD).

  • From 2012 through 2016 there was an increase of more than 2,000 maltreatment reports of vulnerable adults in the state, according to DHS.
  • During this same period, reports of neglect increased 38 percent among people with disabilities, and abuse grew by 26 percent.

In response to these trends, OMHDD and GCDD contracted with the Russell Herder agency to develop the "Treat People Like People" campaign to raise awareness of abuse and mistreatment and educate people with disabilities, their families and guardians, mandated reporters and the general public on how to identify and report instances of abuse.

An overarching goal of the initiative was to show that individuals living with disabilities are valuable, unique human beings deserving of respect and inclusion. To help deliver this message, people with disabilities shared, in their own voices, their experiences and stories. There are posters, advertisements, and a website that provides the opportunity to hear real people's stories about how they weren't safe, and what kinds of supports it took to bring them back to feeling healthy, happy, and supported.

  • The videos as well as tools and resources for direct care providers, vulnerable Minnesotans, their families and the public are available on the new website.
  • If you know or suspect that a vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.
  • Otherwise, call Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) at 844-880-1574. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bill of Rights for People Residing in Supervised Living Facilities

The Bill of Rights for people residing in Supervised Living Facilities (SLFs) isn't just a piece of paper; it's a whole package of resources, from workbooks to videos, made specifically so that people with disabilities could understand the rights that could help keep them safe and informed in their new environment. For example, some people didn't know they had a right to communication privacy, a right to be involved in their own treatment plan, a right to refuse care, and most importantly, a right to be free from maltreatment.

  • I didn't even know I had rights, much less what to do with them.

The Bill of Rights Package contains an easy-read guide, an instructor handbook, a resident workbook, and a series of videos that show people exercising their rights in a dignified and respectful manner. All actors in the videos are either graduates of the Partners® program or members of the Council.

Testimonials about this program goal:

  • I appreciate the various formats to give information about the Bill of Rights.
  • This is a better way to teach rights and interaction means residents will actually retain the information.
  • I am using the videos to train the staff.

MH Consulting Group
1445 Valleyhigh Dr. NW, #6609,
Rochester MN 55901

Census 2020

The Council supported Census 2020 by assisting the State Demographic Center with community and cultural outreach, ensuring that minorities and hard-to-count populations were enumerated. The council convened the first interagency team devoted to disability issues and participated in monthly state level interagency team meetings called Complete Count Committees. The council helped get other team members funding and used social media to help increase self-reporting.

Of critical importance was ensuring that all public communications were translated into additional languages so that hard-to-reach communities could be included in all census activities. Council staff researched and chose translators, accessibility vendors, printers, and mailing houses, and worked with these vendors from bidding through community review of interpretations to final payment. One translation project involved a poster set that was translated into 11 different languages, including Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Oromo and Karen.

Some of the work was media-related, in terms of writing and printing mailing material that would pre-reach our target audience. One project involved the creation of an "Apartment Tool Kit" to reach apartment managers about why it was so important for renters to complete the census, along with Post-It Notes for mailboxes and apartment doors, T-shirts for personnel, and Census Hero posters to hang up in lobbies.

Mr. Dupree Edwards, a Council member and person with a developmental disability, donned a mask and cape to be photographed as one of our Census Heroes!

Council created postcards to reach snowbirds who may be confused about whether they should be completing the census in their winter or summer state. Another project reached 50,000 rural households through Post Office Boxes.

Council staff was the primary force in ensuring the accessibility of training materials for all employees and volunteers, and ensuring that all materials put on the Census web site were accessible.

Finally, the HubDialer was created after the COVID crisis began and in-person census events were cancelled. The Council helped create the script and the actual telephone dialing of people in low-self-response census tracks. This work reached thousands of Minnesotans per week, assisting non-responders in understanding and completing the census with help from the HubDialer volunteers and employees.


Partners in Policymaking $310,000
Cultural Outreach Programs $50,000
    SAM/Statewide Self-Advocacy Network $200,000
    Ambassadors for Respect $70,000
Training Conferences $32,350
Employment $80,000
Customer Research $100,000
Websites, Publications, Online Learning $220,000
Quality Improvement $50,000
TOTAL $1,112,350

Note: During FFY 2020, the Council accelerated spending for some grants to comply with a federal policy about obligation and liquidation of funds.

For more information, please contact:
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
370 Centennial Office Building
658 Cedar Street
St Paul, MN 55155 and
Phone: 651-296-4018
Toll free: 877-348-0505

This document is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by contacting the Council office at the address above. Please call 651-296-4018 or through preferred telecommunications provider. Or please use the email address


This Annual Report was supported in part by grant number 1901MNSCDD-01 from the US Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, represent official ACL policy.

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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.