CTCDD: CTCDD Meeting 3-10-15

CTCDD Meeting 3-10-15

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CT Council on Developmental Disabilities


March 10, 2015

Temple Beth El, West Hartford

10:00 AM to 2:40 PM


The 193rd meeting of the CT Council on Developmental Disabilities was held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 2:38 PM at Temple Beth El in West Hartford. 

Presiding:  Shelagh McClure, Chair; Anthony Orriola, Vice Chair

Recorder of Minutes:  Donna Devin

Members Present:  Chris Blake, Thomas Boudreau, April Burke, Michelle Chase,

John Curtin, Michelle Duprey, Jacqueline Jamison, Michelle Johnson, Alicia Kucharczyk, Zuleika Martinez, Sabra Mayo, Shelagh McClure, Margaret McDermott, Melissa Morton, Antonio Orriola, Jim Rosen, Adam Stuhlman, Ada Suarez, Christine Sullivan,

Kathy Wolkner.

Members Absent:  Mark Keenan, Joyce Lewis

Members Excused:  Brenda Stenglein, Robin Wood

Guests:  Noelle Alix, Laurie Cantwell, Jamar Cherry, Robert Cloonan, Patricia Cymbala, Jaclyn Lawrence, Genna Lewis, Betsy Mussmann, Sheri Romblad, Mary Silverberg,

Trisha Sloan, Lisa Weisinger-Roland, Martin Zaugg

Staff:  Molly Cole, Cathy Adamczyk

Meeting Assistant:  Ellen Mathis


             1. Call to Order:  Shelagh McClure called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM. 


             2. Approval of Agenda:  John Curtin moved to approve the agenda. Sabra Mayo   seconded the motion. The agenda was approved unanimously.


            3.    Approval of Minutes of 1/13/15:  Michelle Chase moved to amend the minutes to change the status of Ellen Mathis from Guest to Meeting Assistant. Sabra Mayo motioned to approve the minutes of 1/13/15. Zuleika Martinez seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.


            4.   Public Forum:  Bob Cloonan, a resident of West Hartford, has a son with a rare disorder, plus a daughter who attended Oak Hill School for the Blind. She has been steadily employed for years, regularly uses public transportation, and lives independently. Bob expressed grave concerns over the lack of opportunities for gainful employment that are available to individuals with disabilities, especially due to outsourcing; wages being paid on a sliding scale; and neglect of fostering job opportunities; as well as failing to recognize employers who offer job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

            Marty Zaugg, an Employment Coordinator at the CT Department of Developmental Disabilities, commented that potential employers of individuals with disabilities should consider the complete dedication they show to their jobs, their unwavering enthusiasm towards them, reliability and punctuality. He believes this goal can be accomplished by educating employers on all of our goals and establishing an incentive program for employers.

            Noelle Alix, a resident of Simsbury, wants Kate, her 18 year old daughter who has Down Syndrome, to have access to the same type of fulfilling college experience a student without a disability would have, and to be able to find a rewarding full-time job after graduation. She lamented there are no residential, post-secondary programs in CT, and since the CT Department of Developmental Services was decimated by budget cuts, she is searching for an alternative way to reach her goals. Until she was connected with the Birth to Three Program at the Department of Developmental Services, most of what she knew about Kate’s disability had been through “word of mouth”.

            Lisa Weisinger-Roland, a resident of West Hartford, is advocating for her 20 year old son Jamie, an individual with Down Syndrome, to have the same opportunities provided to his siblings: to enroll in college, be a part of the campus community, attend classes, and participate in dormitory life. To this end, she and Noelle Alix have assembled over 35 parents and experts to explore creating a 2 year college for individuals with an intellectual disability on the grounds of a large CT university. She asked the Council to support the initiative.

            Mary Silverberg, a resident of West Hartford, also desires more choices in employment for individuals with disabilities. She stressed when career counselors interview these individuals, they should ask “What are you good at? What are you interested in? What do you want to do?” She added individuals with disabilities are not “cheap labor”; They are just like everyone else, in that they want to earn a salary, pay taxes, and better be able to support themselves.

            Jamar Cherry, a Self Advocate Coordinator at the CT Department of Developmental Disabilities, emphasized there needs to be more employment options for workers with disabilities. He coined the slogan “Real Work for Real Pay!” which received a very enthusiastic response from the audience.

The information provided by Lisa Weisinger-Roland and Noelle Alix regarding their mission to open a 2 year college for students with intellectual disabilities on the grounds of a large CT university was met with much interest from both sides of the table and followed by a lengthy question and answer session. The discussion concluded when the Council instructed Ms. Weisinger-Roland and Ms. Alix to promote their idea, flesh-out a plan for the vision and have something more tangible for the Council to review within a month.

5.   Discussion of 5 Year Plan:    Molly Cole, the Executive Director of the CT Council on Developmental Disabilities, thanked the members of the public for sharing their concerns and ideas. She said the Council is drawing up their new 5 Year Plan. Initiatives and funding will focus on diverse areas such as transportation, housing, education, leadership, service agencies, public policy, etc. Over the next year, they’ll be hearing from the public and existing groups around the State. Once the Council finalizes its goals, a draft will be circulated for public comment.

6.   Discussion of Meeting Location:    The Council discussed moving some of the Council meetings to New Haven, so the public in Southern CT would have easier access to them. Overall, Council members were quite supportive of the suggestion. Shelagh McClure pointed out the Council needs a permanent second location, so people can become familiar with it. After receiving info about a couple of viable alternate sites from Michelle Duprey, Molly Cole and Shelagh elected to scout out a location for possible use in September by the Council.

7.   Recommendations from Proposal Review:    Christine Sullivan presented the recommendations from the Council Proposal Review Committee regarding customized employment. They selected Ability Beyond in Bethel, and Autism Services and Resources Connecticut, Inc., in Wallingford as the recipients of the funding for the Customized Employment Initiative. Shelagh McClure moved to approve $17,500 in funds. Michelle Chase seconded the motion. The Council Members present approved the decision unanimously.

     8.   Decision Making Process for Issues Arising between Council Meetings:

      The Executive Committee, along with the Chair and Vice Chair of Committees can call a meeting between Council Meetings. Chairs and Vice Chairs should be careful to monitor email traffic, because the deadline for a response to an issue, testimony or a written statement might be required within 1 or 2 days. This is especially relevant since the startup of the 20/20 Campaign. Shelagh McClure stated it is set out in the Council Bylaws that the Chair and the Vice Chair can speak on behalf of the Council. She said the Executive Committee hasn’t been convened yet, but could be. It’s a mechanism already in place, because the Council doesn’t meet frequently and needed a process to address urgent concerns.

9.   20/20 Campaign Update:    Shelagh McClure gave an update on the 2020 campaign events. On Wednesday, February 11th, Allan Bergman gave a presentation to the Legislature on the closing of institutions in other states and showed how they were able to successfully reallocate funds. He revealed statistics showing that the quality of life for people with the most profound disability challenges improved drastically when they left the institutions, and that they number among the greatest supporters of their communities in which they are now residing. During his visit, he also met with the staff of the 8 Mentoring Programs in CT. While the amount of restrictions placed on living arrangements in an inclusive environment needs to be addressed, great progress has been made in bringing providers onboard with the initiative.

Upon his return to CT the week of March 15th, Allan will meet individually with some of the Legislators and providers. On his schedule also, are conferences with a parent group in Middletown and with the CT Arc Board. In April, he’s arranged to meet with various families, representatives, and agencies to discuss the 20/20 Campaign.

            CT Arc plans to host a series of evening public forums in Hartford, New Haven, Fairfield, and possibly in other locations around the State. In the meantime, the Council is trying to firm up a date to hold a lobbying day.

10.  Legislative Update and Role of Council:    Testimony was heard at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, February 27th in support of the raised House Bill No. 6738, Achieving A Better Life (ABLE) Act. Shelagh McClure submitted testimony in favor of the proposal. Although there was a great deal of support for the CT ABLE Act, due to issues with Federal regulation, it might not be passed this year. However, there’s a good chance the Bill will be approved next year.

Molly Cole submitted testimony on the same day to the Appropriations Committee, to protest the closing of the Independent Living Centers in CT due to the elimination of funding.

Kathy Wolkner Chair of the Council’s Legislative Program and Policy Committee will schedule a meeting and draft testimony against raised House Bill No. 7015, An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients.

Managers at DDS and providers continue to be very concerned about the shift of the Birth to Three Program to the State Office of Early Childhood.

Molly Cole is closely monitoring developments on a number of bills. Council members are encouraged to join in the ongoing Friday afternoon conference call to keep current with legislative updates, or they can refer to a listing updated by Beth Leslie, the Legislative and Regulations Specialist at the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

11.  Announcements and Future Agenda Items:   The Annual Council Retreat will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Resort in Rocky Hill, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 7th and 8th.  A panel of experts, parents and providers will be featured to discuss independent living and what it will look like moving forward.

Melissa Morton will no longer be serving on the Council. She is moving from Aging Services at the CT Department of Developmental Services to the Office of Policy and Management. We thank her for her time spent on the Council and wish her all the best in her new position.  

12.  Adjourn:  John Curtin moved to adjourn the meeting and Zuleika Martinez seconded the motion.  The meeting adjourned at 2:40 PM.


Content Last Modified on 5/19/2015 2:02:03 PM