Join advocates from across the state to learn about policies impacting people with disabilities and advocate for needed funding and legislation this year. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) needs your help to educate Georgia’s lawmakers about topics important to the disability community.
- Advocacy Day #1 – January 26, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Addressing the Direct Support Professional Workforce Shortage
There is a growing demand for DSPs to support citizens with disabilities in home and community settings. This demand is outpacing the supply of available workers. Vacancy rates and voluntary turnover is high. Low wages and limited benefits, minimal training, ineffective supervision, and few opportunities for career growth, combined with the growing complexity of work, are barriers to creating a stable workforce.
In Georgia, we have over 7,000 people with developmental disabilities waiting to receive a Medicaid waiver, some have been waiting more than a decade. Although Georgia is not alone in having a waiver waitlist, limited spending on Medicaid waivers in Georgia has resulted in a longer list than most states. Especially troubling is the result we see when waiver services are underfunded, which is the increased numbers of young people with disabilities who end up stuck in nursing homes. Join us in educating our state representatives and senators on this important topic.
This Advocacy Day will focus on building a community for inclusive employment in Georgia, as it is currently legal to pay people living with disabilities below minimum wage. Georgia’s Employment First Council was created through the passage of House Bill 831, “Georgia’s Employment First Act,” during the 2017 Legislative Session and was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on May 8, 2018. GCDD’s goal this session is to work with partners to strengthen the Employment First Council by encouraging them to restart meetings, produce their biannual reports, and work to develop a strong strategic plan for the future of the Employment First Council. GCDD has been greatly encouraged by the development of the Employment First Council and do believe that it has an important role to play in advancing competitive, integrated employment options for Georgians with disabilities.
Some Tips on Advocating
One of the most important steps we can take ahead of Advocacy Days is to look up our legislators, see what committees they are on and find out how they have voted on issues we care about.
With the website Open States, constituents can find bills they are interested in and also search for their legislators. To find your legislators’ voting records, we recommend searching for them on Ballotpedia. Both of these sites are great resources for any advocate to be properly informed.Once we become informed on the issues and our legislators, we can better advocate for ourselves during the session and beyond. But Advocacy Days are not the only opportunity to advocate! In fact, there are year-round opportunities. Once you have found who represents you and how they vote, feel free to reach out to them on social media or connect with them via email or phone before each Advocacy Day. Make sure to let them know you are a constituent in their district. Each legislator has an important voice in their chamber, and they want to hear from their communities.
One thing we must remember is that these state lawmakers are our friends and neighbors. A lot of these legislators know some information about a lot of different things, so be prepared to educate them on issues you care about. If you are planning to attend our Advocacy Days, feel free to invite them to join you!
Events are free, however, registration is required. Dates subject to change.
Learn About Your Legislators
To find your state legislators, visit the following website and enter your home street address at https://openstates.org/
Once you know who your state representative is, you can look up their picture, office location, phone number, assistant’s name, short biography and contact information here by searching for their last name in the alphabetical listing provided https://www.legis.ga.gov/members/house
You can find the same information for your state senator by searching for their last name in the alphabetical listing at https://www.legis.ga.gov/members/senate
Questions? Contact Dr. Alyssa Miller,
Advocacy Days Resources
General Documents for all Advocacy Days