CTCDD: Policy Meeting 11-10-15

Policy Meeting 11-10-15


Advocacy, Public Information & Education and Legislative Program & Policy Committee Meeting
Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities Minutes

November 10, 2015

Beth El Temple

2626 Albany Avenue

West Hartford, CT



Members Present:  Chris Blake, April Burke, Michelle Duprey, Joyce Lewis, Shelagh McClure, Meg McDermott, Kathy Wolkner, Robin Wood

Staff Present:  Donna Devin


Since their issues and agenda frequently overlap, and to increase their effectiveness, the Advocacy, Public Information, and Education Committee was merged with the Legislative Program and Policy Committee.


1. Approval of Agenda: The meeting was called to order at 1:35 PM. Shelagh McClure moved to approve the agenda.  April seconded the motion.  The agenda was approved unanimously.

2. Approval of Minutes: Shelagh McClure moved to approve the minutes from the 6/9/15 meeting. Meg seconded the motion and the minutes were approved. 
3. Election of Chair and Vice Chair: Kathy Wolkner nominated Chris Blake as a Co-Chair. Joyce Lewis seconded the nomination. His nomination as a Co-Chair was approved by all.
4. Election of 2nd Co-Chair:  Since the new Committee is actually 2 committees, the Committee decided the merged committees would accomplish more, if there were 2 Co-Chairs instead of 1. This would enable the committee to have a 2 pronged approach to an issue, or allow each Co-Chair the ability to focus on separate issues.

Joyce Lewis nominated April Burke as a Co-Chair. Robin Wood seconded the nomination. Her nomination as a Co-Chair was approved by all.

Shelagh McClure directed the Co-Chairs to decide amongst themselves, who will lead what part of future meetings.

Chris Blake had everyone write down the best phone number where they could be reached. Robin Wood volunteered to coordinate conference calls between members and will send out information on how to join the calls.

5. Discuss Role of APIE/LPP:  Robin Wood inquired if the Council is still funding Melissa Marshall of the Alliance to do the weekly legislative wrap-up phone call. Joyce Lewis thinks the calls would very beneficial to the group.

Robin Wood asked the group if there was something that we should be paying attention to, or that is related to legislation, or is something that we just need to get out?’ Shelagh McClure challenged the group to discuss what they think would be a good plan for the committee from looking at its original function.

Chris Blake advised visiting different agencies and talking to them about what the Council does, because certain agencies have no idea what the purpose of the Council is. Both Chris and April Burke agreed this true even in some of the disability areas. Meg McDermott feels advertising is important.

April Burke lamented that the APIE Committee has too much to do and there is a lack of focus. The group needs to be educating and defining the role of the Council to agencies and organizations. Robin Wood believes that other than getting out the brochure, there was never a clear focus of what it was suppose to accomplish. She feels the group lags in information dissemination and needs a presence in social media, either on Facebook or Constant Contact. ‘The Council does important work, but it doesn’t get out to enough of the public.’

Shelagh McClure brought up that the group had talked about doing some kind of a Public Service Announcement revolving around “Building A Great Life” and it could just be a 30 second PSA. Chris Blake mentioned having a speech on CNC about what the Council does. Joyce Lewis suggested it could be talking points or a position paper in support of the Council 5 Year Plan goals. Robin Wood said the hardest part of that is who is going to write the contact. She proposed that when a member says they have something to be written about, they should have someone lined up ahead of time that would be willing to write on that topic, such as Self Advocacy or Self Determination or Civil Rights, etc. This way, when the group says we need a blurb on this, we will be prepared. They could be posted on Facebook.

Joyce Lewis had the idea of creating a 2nd brochure that is all pictures with a single statement. One of her agencies uses this approach and finds it to be very effective. It provides an opening.

Meg McDermott asked if the brochure could be sent to other organizations that may not know about the Council or have the Committee hand it out to people, such as persons in the medical field; Kathy Wolkner added practitioners and waiting rooms. Meg said if the brochure is emailed to her, she can send it out, as she has a strong network. Donna Devin mentioned that libraries still play a very important public role in their communities and suggested giving a packet of 25 brochures to each Council member and having them drop them off at their public library. Chris Blake added Town Halls are a good spot also. Robin Wood interjected that there are 165 towns 200 brochures could be sent to the State library, with a note asking them to divide them up and send them to all of the town and city libraries. Donna will take on this task.

Joyce Lewis has spoken about the Council to the Birth to Three group, but it is an under-known resource in the private providers arena. Joyce mentioned making it available at Southbury Institution. Robin Wood jumped on this suggestion and it would be ideal for the Council to have a whole packet of materials there. Joyce agreed the Council’s goals are shared by many other groups.

Donna Devin asked Robin Wood if she could get the brochure out on an agency-wide and provider-wide list serv. Robin said she could and for Donna to send her the brochure. Joyce Lewis added that the brochure would have more clout if the trades approved it. Robin said it would, and then the trades could send it out. Joyce asked Donna to send it to her Thursday, due to the Wednesday being Veterans Day, and she would bring it to her trades meeting on Friday morning. (Donna followed up and sent Joyce the brochure on Thursday.) Joyce will send the trades approved brochure to Robin to send out on the DDS list serv.

Joyce Lewis asked the group the question, ‘What are our topics? What are we going to work on?’ April Burke is frustrated and thinks there has been enough time for reflection and talk. She wants to get the information out, show people what we actually do, not tell them. She wants to put travelling in the curriculum.

Meg McDermott said she’d like a video created of a member reading the brochure. Robin Wood suggested April Burke and Chris Blake read materials for a video and have it posted online. Michelle Duprey added, ‘with captions.’ Robin told the group that Joan Barnish, Communications Director at DDS has a video lab and she is always on the lookout for new projects. Robin said the forms for creating a storyboard are posted on the DDS website. It is free of charge, but the storyboard needs to be compelling.

Piggybacking on this, April Burke threw out other options, such as community access TV, NPR, public video domains, posting it on the Council website. Robin Wood came up with doing an update the “Able Lives” CD. She said it was really good and the CDs can be made fairly cheaply. Meg McDermott wants the proposed video to show pictures of the council. Robin said to bring the storyboard outline to the next committee meeting in January 2016.

Kathy Wolkner said the proposal supports the Council’s objectives and goals. April stressed it is something physical to be accomplished.

6. Adjourn:  Joyce Lewis made a motion to adjourn.  Michelle Duprey seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 PM.





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