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Minutes – Committee of the Whole Meeting, Nov. 3, 2011


Council Members Present

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Guests Present

Call to Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, November 3, 2011, in the Capitol E Ballroom of the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol Hotel, 701 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 9:30 AM.

 1. Introductions

Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

2. Public Comments

Ilene Robinson provided public comments on Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston which has recently formed a committee to explore the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. A special “inclusion” Shabbat service was held recently. Brenham and Richmond State Supported Living Centers provided transportation to this service but individuals from group homes were unable to participate because of a lack of transportation. She noted other instances of transportation issues in the Houston area for people with disabilities.

3. Chair’s Remarks

Chair Coleman-Beattie announced she submitted a letter of resignation to the Governor’s office in October. She explained this was due to family issues that are now requiring more or her time and attention than expected. Coleman-Beattie indicated that Vice-Chair John Morris will serve as Acting Chair until the Governor has designated a member to replace her as Chair. She noted that she has recommended Morris’ appointment as Chair to the Governor’s appointments staff. Coleman-Beattie announced that Joe Rivas has agreed to serve as Chair of the Public Policy Committee, and commented that having self-advocates as leaders of the Council says a great deal about the Council and its mission to serve Texans with Disabilities. Coleman-Beattie also thanked Susan Vardell for her continued leadership as Project Development Committee Chair.

Rivas provided a report on his experience at the Southwest Disability Conference. He felt it was the best conference he has attended as there were a variety of programs for different interests. He is interested in presenting at next year’s conference.

Vardell reviewed key items for the Project Development Committee including the selection of a member to the nominating committee, discussion of state plan implementation through future projects, and discussion of ways to collect meaningful public input to the Council.

At the request of Chair Rivas, Executive Director Roger Webb reviewed key items for the Public Policy Committee including the selection of a nominating committee member, updates of state and federal policy issues, discussion of staff activities on policy issues, continued discussion of strategies to improve early childhood services, update on the progress of the TCDD 2012 Biennial Disability Report, and discussion of ways to collect meaningful input to the Council.

4. Presentations – Cultural Competence

TCDD Grants Management Specialist Sonya Hosey discussed the Council’s progress on cultural competency in grant projects, noting that ten years ago, few projects were coordinated by members of minority communities and few grant materials were translated into Spanish or other languages. As progress is made in these areas, there is still a need for continued education regarding cultural competence. Hosey introduced King Davis, PhD, who discussed “Race, Ethnicity, Poverty, Gender, Disability, & Language: Pathways to Human Services”. Davis discussed disparities between ethnic and social groups and the collective cost of those disparities. He presented a model of Integrated Community Collaborative Care to meet the needs of individuals through services provided by a variety of organizations.

The Council also received presentations from two grantees about their Outreach and Development projects. Dr. Mary Sixwomen Blount of the Apalachicola Band of Creek Indians, Maybank, Texas, provided information on their project which conducted a survey of tribe members to gather consumer input on community involvement and independence. In response to that input, projects were developed that focused on cooking for independent living, a gospel choir, and a “reading rodeo” that provided free rodeo tickets to individuals who participated in a library resources program. Blount discussed the obstacles encountered with appropriate use of grant funds and the lessons learned from the project.

Myrta Torres, Outreach Coordinator of the Arc of Greater Houston, provided information on their project “Empowering Hispanic Families to Access Community IDD Resources”. This program provided training to meet the culturally specific needs of Spanish speaking families to better understand services and supports available for family members with developmental disabilities. The project impacted 250 people through monthly trainings and a one-day conference. The Arc of Greater Houston will continue to expand its Spanish speaking services.


Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Committee of the Whole at 1:15 PM.