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LEAD Center: Promoting Disability Policy at Multiple National Conferences

September 30, 2016

The LEAD Center had a presence at three conferences this summer, with a focus on sharing emerging best practices in disability policy.

2016 Annual Conference on Independent Living – July 25-28, 2016, hosted by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
Washington, D.C.

The LEAD Center sponsored an exhibit booth at the 2016 Annual Conference on Independent Living to provide information and resources designed to enhance integrated employment and promote economic advancement for youth and adults with disabilities, including the Promoting Employment and Economic Advancement: A Toolkit for CILs and AJCsThis year’s conference, hosted by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), drew more than 1,000 directors and staff from Centers for Independent Living, policy makers, and people with disabilities and their families.

2016 Reinventing Quality Conference - July 31 - August 2, 2016
Baltimore, MD

The LEAD Center’s Project Director, Dr. Rebecca Salon, was invited to conduct a workshop on Conversion Strategies: Changing Business Models, Practices, and Building System Capacity at the 2016 Reinventing Quality Conference. Dr. Salon’s session highlighted the opportunities that WIOA creates for building system capacity through partnerships. She discussed critical partnerships including leveraging and braiding resources and resource coordination across systems (e.g., Medicaid/DD, Vocational Rehabilitation, Workforce, Education, Ticket to Work, community sources).  Dr. Salon emphasized that partners all benefit from collaboration and the introduction of promising practices. The LEAD Center also hosted an exhibit booth to share important LEAD Center activities and resources, which attracted hundreds of attendees.

The Reinventing Quality Conference is jointly hosted by the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), University of Delaware National Leadership Consortium, American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), and TASH. The biennial conference draws hundreds of community service providers; state agency employees from vocational rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and behavioral health systems; university faculty and researchers; school transition staff; and people with disabilities and their families to disseminate and discuss "best practice" information on individualized, person-centered supports, and related quality management activities.

National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference – August 29 – September 1st
Washington, D.C.

LEAD Center staff presented and exhibited at the National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference, a gathering of 1,300 federal, state, and local policymakers and those who administer, manage, and deliver waiver and other HCBS programs. The conference always sees a strong presence from U.S. Health and Human Services leadership including the Administration for Community Living,  the Administration on Aging and Administration on Disabilities; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),  and other federal agencies.

A LEAD Center exhibit booth provided information on emerging best practices and policies related to the HCBS Final Rule, including the provision for Control of Personal Resources. Staff provided information on the critical role of service providers in strengthening a person’s financial capability, shared ways to integrate financial education and empowerment into service planning and delivery, and discussed opportunities for improving collaboration with non-disability financial capability partners.

Dr. Rebecca Salon, LEAD Center Project Director; Elizabeth Jennings, Assistant Project Director; and Brittany Taylor, Project Coordinator, held a workshop on Successful Employment: Partnering with the Workforce System to Achieve Employment Outcomes. The session provided participants with useful information about partnership opportunities and resources available to them through the workforce system, opening doors through American Job Centers (AJC) to employment. Participants were introduced to effective LEAD Center approaches to integrating Customized Employment through partnerships into AJCs using Guided Group Discovery (GGD) and Self-Guided Discovery (SGD) approaches. Customized employment has been shown to increase programmatic accessibility and outcomes for people with disabilities and others with barriers to employment. All three presenters emphasized that WIOA brings a heightened emphasis on including people with disabilities so that they can receive support from AJCs in addition to services they receive from other systems. Jennings also shared strategies and resources to support economic advancement and control of personal resources for people with disabilities, including people receiving Medicaid-funded long-term supports and services.