The federal government requires all Developmental Disabilities Councils to create new strategic plans every five years. The Five Year Strategic Plan determines how each Council will allocate funding to create systems change for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and family members through advocacy and capacity-building activities.
In Georgia, the plan is the foundation of how the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) will do its work across the state. By hearing from individuals with I/DD, family members, caregivers, siblings and the community-at-large, it sets the course of what the Council has to work on for the next five years, or 2022-2026.
All GCDD efforts aim to ensure that people with I/DD are independent and interdependent, have greater economic self-sufficiency, are integrated and included in their respective communities and self-determined in their lives.
Currently, the Council is working off the 2017-2021 plan that focuses on five goals: Education, Employment, Formal and Informal Supports, Real Communities and Self-Advocacy.
The new plan is nearly complete and will be presented for adoption to the Council members on July 15, and then submitted to the federal government in August.
The first part of the planning process engaged over 500 Georgians through a survey, focus groups, interviews and townhalls. People told GCDD that the things they cared about most are improving services and supports, employment and housing.
The government requires that each Council have a Self-Advocacy goal and a Targeted Disparity goal. Along with those goals, the GCDD strategic planning committee, with input and feedback from GCDD Council members, developed one additional goal.
The goals read as follows:
Systems Change: With support from allies, advocates, stakeholders and communities, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families, will have increased access to and benefit from equitable quality supports and services that increase self-determination and meet their needs and preferences.
Self-Advocacy: GCDD will provide more opportunities for the voices of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities to be heard by strengthening capacity among Georgia self-advocacy organizations and initiatives, supporting cross-disability coalitions and leadership development programs for and by people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
Targeted Disparity and Diversity: The Council’s activities and those done in collaboration will be conducted with a focus on equity that increases the access of marginalized communities with particular emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities and those in rural areas.
Each goal has two to four objectives with activities which will inform the work for the next five years. While GCDD has the required Targeted Disparity goal, GCDD is committed to embedding equity into its practices at all levels and not just through the specific targeted disparity. GCDD accomplishes its work through advocacy, public information and capacity building.
The goals and objectives went out to the public for feedback through surveys and townhalls. Feedback was overall positive and there were no significant changes made to the goals and objectives.
The planning team has been hard at work creating, prioritizing and budgeting the activities; creating an evaluation plan; and finalizing outputs, outcomes and performance measures.
Following successful adoption at the July Council meeting, the plan will be uploaded and officially submitted and an infographic to show the simplified plan will be created for distribution to the public.