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All About Developmental Disabilities: Policy Priorities for 2015 Georgia General Assembly

Contacts; Mitch Leff (404-861-4769) and Sarah Douglas (678-521-5289) for All About Developmental Disabilities, Mitch@leffassociates.com or sarah@leffassociates.com

All About Developmental Disabilities: Policy Priorities for 2015 Georgia General Assembly

Overview: During the 2015 Georgia Legislative Session, All About Developmental Disabilities (www.aadd.org) will develop and support a developmental disability agenda primarily focusing on employment issues relating to Georgians with developmental disabilities (DD).

Focus: Support increased funding of $1.96 million in Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) budget for FY 2016, covering supported / customized employment for students with developmental disabilities transitioning out of high school.

Interviews and Expertise:

  • Kathy Keeley, Executive Director, AADD
  • Elizabeth Appley, Legislative Counsel, AADD

AADD’s Leading Advocacy Roles

Employment Issues: Support increased funding of $1.96 million in Dept of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) budget for FY 2016, covering supported/customized employment for students with developmental disabilities transitioning out of high school. 

  • Targeted job search and job coaching to match young people with jobs in integrated work settings paying at/above minimum wage for students transitioning from high school to work.  
  • Initiative will increase personal responsibility, independence and self-sufficiency and meet Georgia’s legal obligations for people to be fully integrated into the community.  

Juvenile Justice - Supporting reforms that prevent unnecessary arrest and detention of youth and young adults. Provide education and training to police officers and law enforcement personnel to deal with encounters with youth and young adults with developmental disabilities in order to prevent tragic outcomes and avoid unnecessary incarcerations.

AADD’s Supporting Advocacy Roles

  1. Support “Employment First” initiative - To establish as state policy that work is the goal and first priority for people with developmental disabilities. Fully engage all relevant state agencies to maximize achievement of that goal.
  2. Support state budget choices to enable Georgia to receive the full benefit of federal vocational rehabilitation grant funds (4-to-1 match of federal to state funds) essential to helping people with DD identify, secure and retain gainful and meaningful employment.
  3. Support increased funding to reduce 7,500 person waiting list for Medicaid waiver services that enable people to remain in the community and function with independence and self-sufficiency, as proposed by Unlock the Waiting List.

Other Issues - AADD is monitoring -- and can comment on -- various education initiatives that support quality education of children with DD including:

  • Meaningful transition planning
  • Opportunities for valuable work experiences and internships while students are in school
  • Support services to enable students to secure further educational and employment opportunities after leaving high school
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