Participate in the development of the next GCDD Five Year Strategic Plan (2022 - 2026) by completing our online survey now or attending a virtual townhall scheduled through the end of August.
Take the Survey!
Your feedback, comments and suggestions will be used to better define community expectations regarding our programs, services and activities. The online survey includes a series of multiple choice questions and opportunities to submit more detailed information. It should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete and is available in both English and Spanish. Deadline to submit surveys is 11:59 PM on September 4, 2020.
Click here to take the survey in English. Click here to take the survey in Spanish.
Register for a Virtual Townhall!
In order to encourage more participation and provide greater flexibility, the townhalls have been scheduled in the month of August in different timeframes. Substantial time will be allotted for the mutual exchange of ideas and creative discussion. All townhalls will be in a Zoom meeting format and you MUST register in advance to attend. You MUST register for each Townhall separately using the links below. The topic of Townhall 1 will be Race, Equity and Intersectionality, and the topics of Townhalls 2 and 3 will be the same, a General Discussion. You can register for Townhall 1 and also for one of the other two.
Coming Soon! Apply to Participate in a Focus Group
In order to collect information on how funding and resources impact specific populations, GCDD will be holding six virtual focus groups in the month of September. These focus groups, ranging in size from 5-7 participants, will facilitate conversations with advocates, families and providers. Stay tuned for steps on applying to participate in one of these audience-specific sessions.
More about the Five Year Strategic Plan
The Five Year Strategic Plan determines how the Council will allocate funding to create systems change for individuals with developmental disabilities and family members through advocacy and capacity building activities.
“All GCDD efforts aim to ensure that people with disabilities are independent and interdependent, have greater economic self-sufficiency, are integrated and included in their respective communities and self-determined in their lives,” said GCDD Executive Director Eric Jacobson.
“The Five Year Strategic Plan is the foundation of how the Council does its work across the state,” said Jacobson. “We need to hear from individuals with disabilities, family members, caregivers, siblings and the community-at-large about what issues are important to them. This feedback will set the course of what the Council has to work on for the next five years.”
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.
Driven by the plan, various projects emerged and were expanded by GCDD in partnership with organizations across the state. Through a grant from GCDD, Sangha Unity Network (SUN) is working to promote, create and sustain an advocacy movement for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. With University of Georgia's Institute on Human Development and Disability, GCDD launched Advancing Employment to improve employment supports and outcomes for individuals with disabilities who want to work through a technical assistance center that supports Provider Transformation. Additionally, the Supported Decision-Making partnership seeks to lay the foundation for widespread adoption of supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship in Georgia, among so many more.
“The strategic plan is the driver for the Council. We do our jobs by putting into action ideas that create community impact and ultimately change systems in ways that ensure the disability community has access to meaningful lives of their choice,” added Jacobson.
Join Us for An Online Session to Share Your COVID-19 Challenges
and Tell Us the Impact of COVID-19 on the Georgia Disability Community.
Session #16: Tuesday, August 25 | 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Find out more details and/or register for upcoming calls
Registration is required for each session
This web series is brought to you by the Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network
COVID-19 Resources for People with Developmental Disabilities
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) joins local, national and international communities in acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as coronavirus. As a trusted resource for Georgians with developmental disabilities and their families, GCDD aims to continue educating and informing our community.
Please see below for a list of vetted and accessible resources and materials for the most up-to-date developments. This list includes regional, statewide, national and international information regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 from trusted sources in one central location. As more verified resources become available, they will be added to this list.
For the most current national information contact the Centers for Disease Control.
A Message from GCDD's Executive Director Eric E. Jacobson
To members of the GCDD community,
Only a week ago, COVID-19 was likely not something most of us worried about and did not expect to impact our lives. Today, COVID-19 has changed our routines around work, transportation and even going out to eat. For each of us, COVID-19 has become a challenge, and for some it may be scary because we can’t see the virus or always identify who has it. For some people with disabilities and health issues such as heart conditions or diabetes, COVID-19 can cause added hardships and illness. Other questions many of us might have include, “What will happen if my direct care staff are unable to come to work because everyone is at home trying to stay safe or have contracted the virus? If this happens, who will help us get up in the morning or make sure we get our medications?”
GCDD wants you to know that the State of Georgia is still open for business. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is working to make sure that direct care staff are able to do their jobs and that people have access to the funds necessary to continue providing supports. The most important thing is for us to remain patient and (as much as is possible at this time) come together as a community to support each other.
GCDD staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, but we will be returning emails and phone calls. We think our job is to get you to the best, most trusted resources available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health are the two best places to receive updates on COVID-19 and how developments may impact you. We have listed these resources and more below. We will be updating this as new information becomes available.
Like you, we at GCDD are continuing with a new “business as usual” mentality. From all of us at GCDD, we are committed to you and the important work that we have been doing, and we wish you the very best as you navigate these challenging times.
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is please to share the stories of this year's Take Your Legislator to Work Day! The month-long event coincided with NDEAM, the 2017 theme of which was Inclusion Drives Innovation.
The goal of Take Your Legislator To Work Day is to show the far reaching benefits to employers, employees and communities alike of hiring people with disabilities as well as to create opportunities for Georgians with disabilities to form and nurture relationships with their elected officials.
GCDD's Take Your Legislator to Work Day is an opportunity for employees with disabilities to invite their legislator(s) to visit them at work. Any Georgian who is employed in an integrated setting and who identifies as having a disability is encouraged to apply. We believe that visiting an employee at work is the best way to show legislators that people with disabilities want to work and are as capable as anyone at working in real jobs for real wages. We also believe your elected officials will best undersand the positive impact of publically funded employment supports if they see those in action.
Take Your Legislator to Work Day is open to any person with a disability that lives in Georgia and works in a community integrated setting earning at or above minimum wage.
Austin Pahr with Rep Jason Ridley & Sen Chuck Payne
Bayley Bristow with Sen Fran Millar
Christine Sass with Sen Elena Parent
Coffee Regional Medical Center Project Search with Rep Dominic LaRiccia
Elizabeth Terzich with Sen Mike Dugan
Emily Shaw with Rep Clay Cox
Hannah Hibben with Rep Dale Rutledge
Jack Prettyman with Rep Scott Hilton
Matthew Roush with Rep Sheila Jones
The legislative response this year was overwhelmingly positive and we thank all those who participated. Listed below are the completed visits of legislators and their constituents with disabilities who have been visited at work. The list will be updated as we receive more information.
Take Your Legislator to Work Day Visits
- Hannah Hibben visited by Rep Dale Rutledge at the Great American Cookie Co in McDonough
- Emily Shaw visited by Rep Clay Cox at disABILITY LINK in Tucker
- Austin Pahr visited by Rep Jason Ridley & Sen Chuck Payne at Nob North Golf Course in Cohutta
- Christine Sass visited by Sen Elena Parent at Taziki's in Decatur
- Bayley Bristow visited by Sen Fran Millar at The Elaine Clark Center in Chamblee
- Jack Prettyman visited by Rep Scott Hilton at the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners
- Elizabeth Terzich visited by Sen Mike Dugan at the Carrol County Animal Hospital in Carrolton (Click here to read an article in the Times-Georgian.)
- Patrick James Barlow visited by Sen Steve Henson at the Park Springs Retirement Community in Stone Mountain
- Matthew Roush visited by Rep Sheila Jones at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta
- Mikel Miller visited by Rep J Collins at the Ingles in Villa Rica,
- Tyler Blanton visited by Rep Steve Tarvin at Unique Fabricating in Lafayette (Click here to access the TV coverage on WTVC Channel 9 ABC.)
- Katrina Parsons visited by Rep Beth Beskin at disABILITY LINK in Tucker
- Elizabeth Cicerchia visited by Sen Michael "Doc" Rhett at the Kids R Kids Pre School in Marietta
- Project Search Interns: Reuben Stephen, Nick Brundidge, Rayshun Grant, Rashaan Davis, Darrius Elias, Tionna Evans, Sam Thomas and Deshunte Banks visited by Rep Carolyn Hugley at the TSYS Project Search Site in Columbus (Click here to access the TV coverage on WTVM Channel 9.)
- Project Search Interns visited by Rep Dominic LaRiccia at the Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas
Click here to view all the photos.
Georgia’s Take Your Legislator To Work Day (TYLTWD) kicked off October 2016 to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The efforts of TYLTWD started with the Employment First Georgia Coalition, a group of 300-strong advocates including people with disabilities, family members, service providers and advocates who believe that all people with disabilities have the ability to work and that Georgia needs an Employment First policy.
The goal of Take Your Legislator To Work Day is to show the far reaching benefits of hiring people with disabilities, support the idea that in an Employment First Georgia, employment should be the first and preferred option for all people – with and without disabilities and to call attention to the 2016 NDEAM theme, #InclusionWorks.
GCDD's Take Your Legislator to Work Day is an opportunity for employees with disabilities to invite their legislator(s) to visit them at work. All workers with disabilities working in competitive, integrated employment in their community are encouraged to apply. We believe that visiting an employee at work is the best way to show legislators that people with disabilities want to work and are as capable as anyone at working real, competitive jobs for real wages in integrated settings.
The visits are in progress and we will keep you updated as they happen:
Take Your Legislator to Work Day Visits
Chad Roberts visited by Rep. Scot Turner at Sweetwater Growers in Canton.