Q – What is the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities?
A – The Council is a federally funded, self-governing organization charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our state. Council members and staff are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives. Arkansas’ Council consists of twenty-three members who are appointed by the Governor. Members include individuals with developmental disabilities, family members of individuals with developmental disabilities, directors of state agencies that serve people with disabilities, and representatives from nonprofit and private organizations that provide services and supports for people with disabilities.
Q – What does the Council do?
A – The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities does not provide direct services. The Council works to improve the independence and productivity of Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to ensure their integration and inclusion into the community. Administrative staff provides referrals to service providers and printed materials upon request. Outreach is a very important part of the Council’s work. The Council supports the Arkansas DD network, advocates, and in some cases, service providers across the state. Through its grants program, the Council funds programs that help foster personal independence, enhance educational opportunities, improve access to family supports and services and increase employment opportunities available to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across our state.
The Council holds at least 4 business meetings each year, which are open to the public.
Q – Can I get a grant from the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Arkansas?
GCDD grants funding to non-profits (in good standing) and to state/local agencies that support Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We do not issue grants to individuals. The Council has the discretion to allocate its funds through a competitive grant process, solicitation of work, direct expenditure or a combination of these approaches. The Council is bound to grant awards only to the extent that the funds are or become available. Through its grants program, the Arkansas Council only funds projects directly supporting goals and activities its five year state plan.
Q – How can I learn more about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities?
A – You can learn more by exploring this website. Another option to learn more about GCDD is to attend one of our quarterly business meetings. Our business meetings are typically held on the second Thursday in the months of March, June, September and December. Call the Council’s administrative office at 501-682-2897 for details on the time and locations of our meetings. We post our meeting announcements on this web site, at Arkansas.gov on the public meetings calendar, and on social media @gcddar (Facebook and Twitter).
Q – How can I serve on the Council?
A – The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities consists of twenty-three members who are appointed by the Governor. Members are required to be one of the following: individuals with developmental disabilities, family members of individuals with developmental disabilities, directors of state agencies that serve people with disabilities, and/or representatives from nonprofit or private organizations that provide services and supports for people with disabilities. The Governor is responsible for appointing members and seeks the most qualified candidates for these appointed positions. Interested applicants must fill out the online application for appointment to be considered: https://www.ark.org/gov_bcaq/app/instructions.html . The instructions on this website will lead you through the process. After you submit your application to the Governor’s Boards and Commissions Office, please reach out to current Council members or staff to let us know you are interested in serving and why.
Q – How can I participate?
A – The Council’s meetings are open to the public. One way to participate is to attend a GCDD meeting and share your ideas with us. Another way to participate is to volunteer! GCDD operates with a small administrative staff and there is always plenty of work to be done. Call our office at 501-682-2897 and ask for our program manager to learn about volunteer opportunities. You could also seek out volunteer opportunities with one of our collaborative partners – Disability Rights Arkansas, Partners for Inclusive Communities, or the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. As partners in the Arkansas Developmental Disabilities Network, these organizations, along with the Council, work cross-functionally to achieve the core goals of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 106-402): self-determination, independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion in all facets of community for people with developmental disabilities.
Q – What is the Arkansas DD Network?
A – The Arkansas developmental disabilities (DD) network is a collaboration. The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Protection and Advocacy Organization (Disability Rights Arkansas), and the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (Partners for Inclusive Communities, a University of Arkansas program) are the three main partners in this collaboration. While each entity within the network serves specific purposes, they were established with overlapping goals to facilitate collaboration and interconnectivity among the different units. This structure allows each entity to work cross-functionally to achieve the core goals of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 106-402): self-determination, independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion in all facets of community for people with developmental disabilities.
Q – What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?
A – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B. IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education. The law has been revised many times over the years. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in December 2004, with final regulations published in August 2006 for Part B (for school-aged children) and in September 2011 for Part C (for babies and toddlers). So, in one sense, the law is very new, even though it has a long and powerful history.