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Minutes – Council Meeting, Aug. 4-5, 2011

Thursday, August 4: Attendance

Council Members Present

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Call to Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, August 4, 2011 in the Del Valle room of the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, TX 78719. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 9:45 AM.

1. Introductions

Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

2. Public Comments

The Council received public comments from Stacey Mather of SIBscape. Mather founded this organization because she has three siblings with intellectual disabilities and wants to unite siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities to increase support and advocacy for their family members.

3. Consent Items

Chair Coleman-Beattie discussed the schedule for this quarter’s meeting and requested feedback from members regarding the extended Council meeting and lack of committee meetings.

Coleman-Beattie asked for a motion to approve the May 2011 Council and respective Committee minutes. Amy Sharp requested that the minutes be emended to reflect that he was absent.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 5, 2010, Committee of the Whole, Project Development Committee and Public Policy Committee Meetings and the May 6, 2011 Council Meeting.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Mateo Delgado

The motion passed unanimously.

Coleman-Beattie indicated that requests for excused absences for these meetings were received from seven members: Deneesa Rasmussen, who has resigned; Penny Seay and Sandy Graham, UT CDS; Kimberly Blackmon; Andy Crim; Mary Durheim; Marcia Dwyer; and Lora Taylor.

4. Chair’s Report

Coleman-Beattie indicated that the Governor’s appointments staff hope to finalize appointments of new members and reappointments during September. Council Vice-Chair John Morris was recently elected to the NACDD Board of Directors. John welcomes input regarding issues that should be addressed by NACDD.

Coleman-Beattie discussed national conferences that members might want to attend including the 2011 Southwest Conference on Disability in Albuquerque, NM, in October; the NACDD Fall Conference in Washington, DC, in November; and the Alliance for Full Participation 2011 Summit in Washington, DC, in November. Coleman-Beattie indicated that although TCDD’s travel budget is limited, it is important for members to have these educational opportunities.

Coleman-Beattie indicated that Public Policy Committee Chair Rick Tisch asked to step aside as Chair after the November meeting. She has talked to various members about chairing the committee and welcomes suggestions and offers from others. Project Development Committee Chair Susan Vardell indicates she is happy continuing to chair that Committee.

5. Executive Director’s Report

Vice-Chair John Morris and Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry attended the ADD Technical Assistance Institute July. Morris indicated that this event offers a great deal of information for DD Council staff but is not as interesting for Council members. Webb agreed that this year’s Institute was focused on state plan development and is geared toward staff. Cordry indicated that it was valuable to be part of discussions about the new format for federal reporting and accountability. She explained that ADD has increased its expectations for Councils in terms of business practices and measuring goals. There were also presentations on supporting people with DD without Medicaid fund by building communities to support those individuals.

Webb updated members that former Public Policy Director Angela Lello is moving to Washington, DC, to begin a Kennedy fellowship for the next year and expects to work on education issues within the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Web Administrator Rosalinda Lopez retired from TCDD on June 30th and Grants Management Director Patrice LeBlanc retired on July 31st. Webb hopes to post for both director positions in September. Public Policy Specialist Cassie Laws-Fisher is on maternity leave following the birth of her son, Eamon in July 2011. Senior Grants Management Specialist Sonya Hosey is serving as interim Grants Management Director and is currently attending the Gulf Coast Community African American Family Support Conference in Houston hosted by a TCDD grantee and is delivering the welcoming address for the Chair and Executive Director. Web administrator functions are being covered by a part-time contact employee, Annette Berksan.

The Sunset Review for TCDD and all health and human service agencies was delayed by the Legislature and will now occur in 2015 beginning with agency self-evaluations that are expected to begin during the summer of 2013.

6. Presentation: Arc of Greater Tarrant County

Representatives of the Arc of Greater Tarrant County provided a presentation on the Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training project. This TCDD grant project provided training to self-advocates and family members from Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Hood and Wise counties. Planning Coordinator Cordry introduced self-advocates Kathy Doty and Kathy Bales, and project director Erin Hall who recently became Executive Director of the Arc of Greater Tarrant County. Cordry commented that Ms. Bales was a resident of a state supported living center until her mid-twenties and now lives independently and teaches others about living in the community.

Doty, Bales and Hall provided a summary of the project. Over 600 individuals, including 400 self-advocates, were trained through the project. Participants who were trained by the project visited the state Capitol 11 times during the recent legislative session to meet with state leaders and advocate for state services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Doty addressed 110 attendees of a luncheon hosted by the Tarrant County IDD Needs Council. Advocates made contacts with legislators and celebrities; attended local events such as Race for the Cure; attended conferences such as TALAC and SABE; conducted voter registration efforts; provided education in college-level social work classes on diversity and IDD; and hosted financial independence classes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hall noted that although the TCDD grant project is ending, many elements of the program are being incorporated into other Arc programs.

7. TCDD FY 2012-2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives

Project Development Committee Chair Susan Vardell reviewed the work to date on the Goals and Objectives for the Council’s FY 2012-2016 State Plan. TCDD is required to submit the new State Plan electronically to the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) by August 15, 2011. Vardell reminded members that the goals and objectives were approved at the May 2011 meeting in order to solicit public comments. The Council will review comments received and consider if revisions are warranted. Vardell noted that if the Council decides to make any substantive changes to the draft Goals and Objectives, further public comment would be required. Any revisions of that nature could be submitted later as an amendment.

Planning Coordinator Cordry reviewed comments received on the draft State Plan. No changes were suggested for Goals 1 & 2 or the objectives related to those goals. During the review of Goal 3 and its objectives, members discussed adding language regarding “culturally representative” community organizations to specific objectives but decided that language should be consistent through the entire goal. Members agreed to revise the goal to read: “Conduct ongoing educational campaigns in collaboration with community leaders, organizations, and businesses to enable the, to better support, include, and/or provide services to people with developmental disabilities in a culturally representative manner by 9/30/2016.” No changes were suggested for Goal 4. Members agreed with the suggestion to add language to Goal 5 and Objectives 2 and 4 regarding “community services”. Members also agreed with public comments to add “and prevent institutionalization” within Objective 3. No changes were suggested by members to Goals 6 & 7.

MOTION: To approve the FY 2012 – 2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives as revised.

MADE BY: Amy Sharp

SECOND: Mateo Delgado

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 1 as approved – PDF, 120KB, 11 pages)

8. Presentation: Baylor College of Medicine

TCDD Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison introduced Dr. Cynthia Peacock, project director of the Transition Medicine Program at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. This TCDD grant project works with patients ages 14 – 25 with chronic medical conditions as they transition from pediatric to adult health care. Dr. Peacock is director of the “Med-Peds” residency program which dually trains residents in pediatrics and internal medicine. She is also the assistant director of the Internal Medicine residency program so that both groups of residents benefit from the TCDD Transition Medicine project. The program began in 2005 to address concerns that many young adults with chronic illness and disabilities were being treated in the pediatric emergency rooms because they could not find adult health-care. The Transition Medicine program provides a medical home for patients including case-management and coordination services. Patients are assisted with preventative care, coordination of specialist services, and social work services. TCDD funding began in 2006 and the Baylor College of Medicine now funds the program in part with philanthropic donations. The program works collaboratively with mental health and other services and currently has 326 patients. Peacock indicated that social workers often provide phone consultations about transition issues to patients who are not eligible for the program because they do not live in Harris County. A future goal of the program is to train current adult health care providers in the principles of medical transition. Council members asked Dr. Peacock about replicating the program in other areas of the state and suggested that the project should offer a presentation at a NACDD national conference.

9. DADS Utilization Review Process

Executive Director Webb introduced Kathy Horton, Utilization Review Section Director, Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Horton provided information on the utilization review program’s objectives, expansion activities, methods, expected outcomes and activities. Current and prospective consumers of Medicaid Waiver programs are subject to a review of their services and supports through a desk review and/or face to face interviews. Utilization Review considers cost effectiveness and helps ensure that consumers receive the services and supports they need. Cases will be reviewed through random and non-random samples and cases that have reached the cost threshold. Assessment tools are currently under development and will be piloted for the first several months determine appropriateness. Following a review, consumers may see services increase, decrease or stay the same.

10. Consideration of TCDD 2012 Biennial Report Special Focus

Public Policy Committee Chair Rick Tisch reviewed requirements for TCDD to prepare, jointly with the Office of Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, a biennial report on the state of services to persons with disabilities in Texas. The report is due to the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House of Representatives and the commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission by December 1 prior to each legislative session. Tisch reviewed the special focus of the past six biennial reports and highlighted discussions of the Public Policy Committee about the possible a special focus for the 2012 report. Suggestions for the next report included health care, education (at all stages of life), looking at the effect of education on employment prospects, improving the availability of direct-support workers, and examining the effect of budget cuts on services for people with disabilities.

Webb noted that staff reviewed these discussions and propose focusing on the interconnectivity between education and employment and a review of how recent funding decisions have impacted those services and others such as health care and transportation. Webb reviewed the types of information that might be included for these focus as well as the methods and estimated costs to collect data for a report. Webb noted that the Florida DD Council conducted town hall and focus group meetings throughout the state to gather information about the impact of funding reductions. That can be an effective but costly means of gathering data. Members suggested that the staff suggested topic may be too broad. In response to a comment, Webb agreed that personal stories illustrate the impact of budget cuts but that the timing for doing interviews to include for the next report would require interviews to be conducted before the impact of the cuts is fully evident.

Members discussed the topic of “reduced funding and its effect on programs” and agreed that this topic is also too broad. Members also discussed the format and depth of the report. Webb noted that the state law requires the report to address specific topics, but the Council can determine the level of background detail to include, and can decide whether or not to include any special focus. If the Council prefers a special focus on the interconnectivity between education and employment, that data could be obtained. Since the impact of the recent budget cuts won’t be apparent until closer to the next Legislative session, the Council could consider other ways to provide that information later.

Members discussed estimated funding required for the report and agreed that the Council Chair and Committee Chair can approve specific activities and funds as the report moves forward. The Chairs can determine if specific activities and funding amounts are reasonable and meet the intent of the Council’s guidance. Members recommended producing the report primarily as an e-version to save printing expenses. Webb noted that the 2012 Biennial Report was done with minimal print costs and no photographs to save money.

MOTION: To focus the 2012 Biennial Report on the interconnectivity between education and employment.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

Tisch and Public Policy Committee members agreed they supported this topic.

The motion passed unanimously.

11. 82nd Texas Legislature

Webb reviewed the FY 12–13 state budget recently approved by the Texas Legislature which includes an 8.2% reduction ($15 billion) from the previous two-year budget. Many of the reductions are from health and human services programs. The approved budget does not fund caseload growth for Medicaid entitlement programs, and funds Medicaid for only 18 months with the intent to provide supplementary funding when the legislature next convenes in January 2013. Webb summarized reductions to other programs and referred members to other materials and the TCDD website. Webb and Public Policy Specialist Belinda Carlton discussed bills that passed during the 82nd Texas Legislature and their impact on people with disabilities. Additional information was provided in Council materials.

12. Update on State Supported Living Center Monitoring Activities

Webb indicated that the second round of State Supported Living Center Compliance monitoring visits of most facilities have been completed and summaries of those monitoring reports were included in the meeting materials. Council member and DADS representative Jeff Kaufmann indicated that an additional summary is available from DADS that shows progress on measures in addition showing those measures for which a facility is in substantial compliance. Kaufmann agreed to provide that information to members.

13. Other State and Federal Policy Issues

Webb provided brief updates on federal policy issues and noted that Congress has not determined the federal budget for FY 2012. The Work Investment Act (including vocational rehabilitation funding), No Child Left Behind, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are all scheduled for reauthorization during this session of Congress but it is not known if those bills will be addressed.

14. Staff Reports and Updates

Communications Coordinator Melissa Loe noted that the Public Information Report was included in meeting materials which provides updates on strategic communications, outreach and social media efforts. A live feed of the TCDD Facebook page has been added to the main page of TCDD website. Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison reviewed the TCDD Projects’ Training Schedule and a project highlights of the Baylor College of Medicine Transition Medicine Project and Syracuse University “Advocacy U” Project. Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed current projections of funds available for grants.

15. Consideration of Future Projects

Planning Coordinator Cordry discussed the need for grantees to develop sustainability after DD grant support concludes, and noted that the State Plan includes this as an activity. Cordry reviewed a staff proposal to engage a contractor to provide training and technical assistance for Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training (LDAST) grantees about fund raising, grant writing, and building collaborations. LDAST projects are being targeted because they have the lowest rate of sustainability and the Council has established those projects as a long-term priority.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $25,000 to provide training to TCDD grantees to increase the capacity of projects to be continued without grant support.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Mateo Delgado

Members suggested that the contract should include “deliverables”.

The motion passed unanimously.

Cordry next reviewed TCDD Cultural Outreach Activities which include the Outreach and Development Grants and the Inclusive Faith Based Symposium Project. Funds authorized for these projects collectively have now reached the totally amount originally approved by the Council for this multi-year initiative. Members agreed to hold on further activities at this time.

Cordry provided information on Employment Activities including staff discussions with Project Search regarding an unsolicited idea to expand that program. Cordry and Webb also discussed an opportunity for a collaboration of Texas agencies including TCDD to apply for a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities to focus on employment options for youth and young adults. Webb coordinated a workgroup of agency representatives who determined after a series of discussions that it was not feasible to submit an application at this time. TCDD staff offered to provide support for that group to continue discussions about employment issues.

Communications Coordinator Loe provided updates on strategies to improve early childhood services. She reminded members that this topic is the result of an unsolicited idea reviewed at the May Council meeting. Following that meeting, TCDD Public Policy Specialist Cassie Laws-Fisher and former TEA representative Margaret Christen determined that an advisory council focusing on this issue is established and operating in Texas. However, a number of actions within that council’s strategic plan have not been implemented. Loe suggested any further discussion on this topic could focus on collaboration with this organization to implement its goals. TEA representative Cindy Swain offered to continue the work on this effort in coordination with TCDD staff.

Webb reviewed the history of TCDD financial support for public members of various agency advisory committees over the past 10+ years that assists self-advocates and family members of individuals with disabilities to participate on state agency advisory committees when the agency is not authorized to reimburse for travel expenses. TCDD awards funds to the UT Center for Disability Studies to coordinate these travel supports and has provided approximately $31,000 for this activity over the last two years. TCDD asked HHSC to include funding for these advisory committees in their Legislative Appropriations Requests but concurred with HHSC that it was not realistic to include that request this past session given the state’s fiscal concerns. Council Chair Coleman-Beattie agreed to approve funds for the 2012-2013 biennium prior to the beginning of the 82nd Texas Legislature in order to allow state agencies to focus their efforts on the more crucial aspects of the budget discussions. She provided this action and related information to the Council at its August 2010 meeting.

Webb reviewed Executive Committee discussions on financial support for individuals to provide public input to the Council and referred members to meeting materials. Executive Committee members discussed the effectiveness of this strategy compared to other means of obtaining public input such as conducting Council meetings in other areas of the state, town hall meetings or technology-based methods such as video streaming, etc. Staff will provide additional information at the next Council meeting.

Cordry noted that two unsolicited ideas were received and reviewed by the sub-committee. There were no further recommendations from the work-group.


Chair Coleman-Beattie recessed the meeting at 5:00 PM.

Friday, August 5: Attendance

Council Members Present

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Guests Present

  • Amanda Dunnavant


Chair Coleman-Beattie reconvened the meeting on Friday, August 5, 2011 at 8:38 AM.

16. Executive Committee Report

Coleman Beattie reviewed the continuation grant funding approved by the Executive Committee to the Arc of Texas for the Microboard Collaboration project for $69,893 for the fourth year of a 5 year project. Council member Susan Vardell spoke of her experiences in establishing a microboard for her son Michael and the benefits their family has received from this process.

Coleman-Beattie recognized TCDD Senior Grants Management Specialist Sonya Hosey for 10 years of service to TCDD and noted that she had just returned from a TCDD grant funded conference in Houston. Hosey thanked the Council and provided comments on the Gulf Coast African American Family Support Conference. 150 participants attended the conference and heard key-note addresses by King Davis and Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman on mental health issues for African Americans.

Coleman-Beattie reminded members that this conference was modeled on the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference that began with a focus on mental health issues but has progressed into total health and wellness for African Americans. As the sponsor for the Central Texas conference, Austin Travis County Integral Care worked with TCDD grantee Parents Anonymous on the Gulf Coast conference.

Coleman-Beattie provided information on Executive Committee discussions regarding continuation grant funding for the project grantee, Parents Anonymous. The Committee decided to not approve a continuation grant award to Parents Anonymous. Even though the conference was successful, this decision was based on the difficulties of the grantee. As conference facilitators, the grantee, based in California, did not have a local presence to work with the various stakeholder groups in the Houston area as outlined in their initial proposal. This project also required an unusual amount of TCDD staff time to ensure the grantee was meeting the timelines and expectations of the approved grant workplan, and to provide clarification of various workplan activities. Coleman-Beattie noted that Hosey devoted additional time to work with the Houston area groups to ensure the success of the conference. Due to these issues, the Executive Committee did not wish to continue funding the grantee but asked staff to present options in November that are in accordance with state and TCDD procurement policies for continuing to provide funds to support the conference in Houston.

Coleman-Beattie reviewed decisions of the Executive Committee to approve grant funding for three Higher Education for Students with Developmental Disabilities projects. Funds of up to $225,000 per year for up to five years were approved to the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services in Hidalgo County, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University Burkhart Center for Autism Education. Council members discussed the importance of these projects and encouraged coordination and discussion between the projects.

The Executive Committee also approved funding for five projects that responded to the Request for Proposals for Expansion of Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training projects. Funding of up to $40,000 for the first year and up to $20,000 for the second year was approved for the Brighton Center, Region 19 Education Service Center, Imagine Enterprises, Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center, and SER-Jobs for Progress on the Gulf Coast providing that concerns noted in the review process are appropriately addressed. .

The Executive Committee discussed the process for reviewing grant proposals related to provisions in current Council policies and procedures that do not allow applicants to respond to any questions or concerns about the proposals before decisions are finalized. The Committee asked staff to review and propose revisions to the policies and procedures for discussion during February meetings.

Council members and staff were asked to review the Conflict of Interest disclosure reports and provide updates or acknowledge that no updates are necessary at this time.

TCDD Operations Director Martha Cantu provided information on the Quarterly Financial Report. No concerns were noted. Members clarified amounts that are available for grant funding including funds not expended from the administrative operations budget.

17. TCDD FY 2012 Operating Budget

Coleman-Beattie and Cantu reviewed the operating expense budget for FY 2012. Coleman-Beattie noted that the Committee decided to not include funding for an 18th staff position in the budget at this time but intends to hold authorization for that position without funding. The Committee also agreed to not increase funds budgeted for travel over amounts budget in FY 11. Those items reduced the operating budget by approximately $23,000 from the prior year.

MOTION: To approve the FY 2012 Operating Expense Budget with the revisions as noted.

MADE BY: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 2 as approved – PDF, 25KB, 1 page)

18. Amendments to TCDD Policies

Coleman-Beattie noted that the Council previously discussed proposed amendments to Council Policies. Amendments to Council Policies require 10-day written notice to Council members. That notice was provided to members prior to this meeting recommending approval of the following amendments:

  • To authorize the Council Chair to approve a one-time monetary adjustment to grant awards provided the amount is no more than 10% or $10,000;
  • To allow Council staff to serve as the review panel for grant proposals of $15,000 or less; and
  • To limit internal auditing contracts to no more than 10 consecutive years.

MOTION: To approve the Amendments to Council Policies as presented.

MADE BY: Kathy Griffis-Bailey

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 3 – PDF, 60KB, 2 pages)

19. Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency

Coleman-Beattie provided background about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Texas Education Agency (TEA) that outlines the duties of TEA as the designated state agency for TCDD and authorizes TEA to receive up to $50,000 yearly for those efforts.

MOTION: To approve the Memorandum of Understanding between Texas Education Agency and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities as presented.

MADE BY: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

SECOND: Kris Bissmeyer

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 4 – PDF, 50KB, 5 pages)

20. TCDD Committee Structure

Chair Coleman-Beattie led a discussion of the Council’s standing committees and asked for input from members regarding the structure of this quarter’s meetings with all business conducted as a full body. Members felt that this format did not encourage all members to participate, and that smaller committees provide for more interaction between members. Members noted that typical work of the Project Development Committee would be difficult to conduct as only a large group. Thursday’s meeting in the Committee of the Whole format was lengthy and impacted Council members’ ability to stay attentive to the agenda issues. Further, many members indicated that Committee work is important and beneficial to the Council.

Members and staff discussed structures used by other Councils such as issue-based committees. Members felt it would be difficult to choose topic areas as a preference for committee assignment, and noted that ad-hoc issue based workgroups in addition to committees are at times useful. Most members expressed an interest in maintaining the current standing committees.

21. Announcements and Updates

Members discussed options for November 2011 and May 2012 meetings outside of Austin and agreed to meet in Austin for the November meeting. Staff were asked to pursue other options for the May 2012 meeting. Members indicated their willingness to hold Council meetings in addition to “town-hall” type events in cities such as Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.

22. State Plan Implementation

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry provided information on activities related to the State Plan. She reminded members of current projects and efforts related to each goal.

Council members reviewed the Future Funding Priorities and no changes were made to the current priorities.


Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Council meeting at 11:07 AM.


Roger A. Webb
Secretary to the Council