The mission of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play and worship in Georgia communities.
To be most effective in our advocacy, GCDD leads on 2-3 priority areas each session, while also supporting our partner organizations in their efforts. The following 2022 Policy Agenda is based on public input, and in support of our new Five Year Strategic Plan:
GCDD 2022 Public Policy Priorities:
+ Addressing the direct support professional (DSP) workforce crisis.
Direct support professionals are integral to ensuring that people with I/DD can lead meaningful lives, fully included in their communities. Unfortunately, DSPs are drastically underpaid for the work that they do, which is one of the main contributors to the workforce shortage and crisis.
These issues have been extensively studied during Georgia’s 2018 House Study Committee on the Workforce Shortage and Crisis in Home and Community Based Settings, as well as in GCDD’s 2019 white paper “The Direct Support Professional Workforce Crisis: Challenges, State Approaches, and Opportunities for Georgia,” written by Dr. Carol Britton Laws. Based on the information already known to us, we believe that the state should invest its resources to increase provider rates with a direct passthrough for an increase in DSP wages.
+ Reducing the waitlist for NOW/COMP Waivers through increased funding.
For the past few years, a limited number of slots have been funded, which has resulted in no major changes in our large waitlist. Because of this, people with I/DD and their families continue to wait years for needed services. GCDD was encouraged by the creation of DBHDD’s multi-year plan, finalized in 2018, to address the waitlist, and GCDD would like to advocate to ensure DBHDD is receiving enough funding from the General Assembly to reach their goals and objectives. Based on these goals, GCDD is recommending an additional 1500 waiver slots, which would be an approximate $29.4 million in additional funding.
You can find DBHDD’s multiyear plan, as well as an appendix document outlining specific target numbers, here.
+ Strengthening Employment First in Georgia.
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. The Employment First Council is tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Developing an Employment First training plan for providers.
- Coordinating and conducting educational activities with other agencies to increase awareness of Employment First.
- Evaluating the funding mechanism for inclusive post-secondary education (IPSE) programs in the state; and
- Reviewing and making recommendations in a biannual report to the Governor and the General Assembly.
Although there was initial momentum when the Council was first created, there have not been meetings or recommendations produced from the Council for quite some time.
Our 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. We were greatly encouraged by its development and do believe that the Council has an important role to play in advancing competitive, integrated employment options for Georgians with I/DD.
+ Advocating for Georgia’s inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs.
Inclusive post-secondary education (IPSE) programs provide opportunities for study beyond high school to students who historically have not been presented with these possibilities. These programs change lives by making college accessible for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Further, this education prepares them to live increasingly independent lives, pursue careers of their choice and provides the potential for increased earnings long-term.
GCDD currently receives state funding to support the eight IPSE programs across the state, and we are committed to sustaining and growing those programs. For more information on Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE), click here.
+ Supporting Gwinnett SToPP's work to disrupt the school to prison pipeline.
- Increase public awareness of the injustice that all children face within the educational system as it relates to the pipeline and the judicial process.
- Promote policy changes through data accountability and fact-based incident reporting which serve to support and strengthen the dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline in Gwinnett County.
GCDD Public Policy Vision: Disability in ALL Policy
GCDD promotes public policies that aim to advance the well-being of all Georgians with intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families, and all who love them, by supporting and advancing policies that create and maintain true community inclusion, such as:
+ Health & Wellness
+ State Budget
To learn how to become a grassroots advocate, click here: