Press Releases

GCDD Reviews the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement, Addresses Home Accessibility, Features a Guide to Traveling with Disabilities in the Summer Issue of Making a Difference

ATLANTA, GA, August 10, 2016 -- Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities’ (GCDD) Summer edition of Making a Difference quarterly news magazine reviews the recent settlement agreement reached between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of Georgia; addresses home accessibility; and features a guide to traveling well for people with disabilities and their families.

According to the new settlement with the DOJ, the State has to move 266 adults with developmental disabilities in state care into community-based environments by June 30, 2018. “It is our expectation that most of the people still in a hospital setting will return to the community,” said Talley Wells, director of the Disability Integration Project for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Frank Berry also provided insight into the State’s continued efforts in the Perspectives section of Making a Difference, where he cited how the new agreement focuses on developing provider capacity and quality to support continued transitions from state hospitals into community settings.

Ruby Moore, executive director of the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO), shared the major steps that this new agreement will have to take to reach the newly mandated goal. Steps such as using an improved transition processes with enhanced post-move monitoring; implementing a high-risk surveillance list and immediately responding to gaps in services; and providing new waivers each year
are just some that will be necessary to comply with the extension agreement.

“This agreement will have broad impact on all people in the intellectual and developmental disabilities system,” said Moore. GAO is the state’s protection and advocacy agency for Georgia’s disability community

The summer issue also offers resources and tips to travel easily by air, train or on the road for people with disabilities and their families. With over 50 million Americans who have disabilities, the guide educates travelers with disabilities about their rights and provides resources that they can use to make travel easier.

This issue also covers the first of many trainings on Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST training that was attended by 65 Georgia property managers, disability advocates and others in Georgia. Lynnae Thandiwe, compliance director at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, shares guidelines and requirements to design homes that are more accessible for people with disabilities, the aging community and more.

Continuing its campaign The Disability Vote - Feel The Power, Making a Difference covers the importance of learning about congressional candidates in this year’s general election.

GCDD’s next quarterly meeting will be held in Atlanta, GA on October 13-14, 2016. All meetings are open to the public.

Media links:
To read Making a Difference Summer 2016, visit
For photos of Making a Difference Summer 2016, visit

About Making a Difference:
Making a Difference is published by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). Current and past issues can be accessed online at and hard copies can be requested by contacting the GCDD Office of Public Information. Making a Difference is available online in accessible PDF and large print format, as well as on audio by request.

About Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD):
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.