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Archive for May, 2012

Partners in Policymaking| 25 yrs of Making Government Work

Giraffes teach their young how to stick out their necks

Giraffes teach their young to stick out their necks

“Partner in Policymaking graduates are members of the Giraffe Society–they are willing to stick their necks out.” Ed Roberts

Partners in Policymaking Celebrates 25 Years: 1987-2012

It is popular to complain, “We need to get rid of government programs–they don’t work.” But if you are a parent or person with a disability, you know you can’t do it alone. You know you need help to survive.

And, maybe the question we need to ask is: “How can I get involved and make government programs work better…for myself and others?”

If you are struggling to find services and build a network of support for yourself or your young child, I highly recommend Partners in Policymaking. It is the best resource I know.

Partners in Policymaking is a program that not only works–it teaches parents, self-advocates and policymakers HOW to make government programs work.

In 1987, Dr. Colleen Wieck of the Minnesota Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council created Partners in Policymaking.

For 25 years the goal is still to create a win-win partnership between people who need and use services and the people who make public policy.

With 21,000 Partners in Policymaking graduates in the United States, and 2,000 Partners graduates internationally, parents, self-advocates and policymakers are changing the world.

Why Partners?

Partners is designed for adults with disabilities and families of young children, but some programs expand that target group.

The goal of Partners is to teach “best practices” and the skills necessary to “change systems.”

State-of-the-art information gives Partners the big picture, allows them to dream big, and gives them strategies to turn their dreams into reality.

Partners participants become competent to change their own lives, and then to work for changes that will affect others with disabilities at local, state, and national levels. Partners graduates are expected to be agents of long term change. They learn there are no “quick fixes.” They are trained to achieve long term successes.

Who are the “Policymakers”?

Policymakers are the people in government who are elected or appointed to make decisions about rules, regulations and resources. They legislate on school boards, city councils, county and state agencies and governments, federal congressional legislators, and others who shape disability issues at all levels of government.

Some Partners graduates have become elected and appointed public officials.

Partners in Policymaking is the Instruction Book

How many times have you heard parents wish, “If only I had an instruction book”?

Partners in Policymaking IS the instruction Book.

Here is a video that explains the facts about the Partner’s Program from the United Kingdom.

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Texas, 20 Years of Partners in Policymaking (2006) “It is the Power of the Dream that brings us here.” (You will love this song.)

New Classes Forming Now: The Power of the Dream

Find the Partners contact person for your state/country.

Find out the target audience for the Partners Course and if you are eligible–sign up.

If you are not eligible, see if you can still be part of the Partners network.

Everyone can take the online courses.

Here is the Homepage for the Partners in Policymaking Website. You can find contact information for where you live, you can find online courses, you can find Parallels in Time: A History of People with Disabilities and a wealth of other resources. But most importantly, you will be able to network with others who are sharing your journey.

Partners in Policymaking

Comments:

Any success stories about Partners? Any success stories about partnerships between advocacy groups and local leaders? Does this sound like a good idea? Who would you suggest for speakers on state-of-the-art? Do you think the power of the dream can bring people together?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best,
Mary

Related Posts:

Ed Roberts and the Yet to be Disabled

The Power of One

Aaron Ulrich: Dream Plan 4

Remarkable Parents who Never Give Up

“I Need a Job, Not a Government Plan”

This is Video Week.

So far we’ve seen:

The Values of Inclusion: From Down Under
By Heather Simmons at the Institute of Inclusion in Sydney Australia.

More than just a Graduation Speech
By Jeremy Sicle-Kira, a young man with the label of autism who uses an augmented communication system.

Today’s Feature for all you country music fans is from the Ohio Chapter of People First and was shown during the Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) Conference in 2012.

I loved this video, the message, the music, the participation, the fact that the People First group made the video and presented it to the “professionals”–I mean, who is teaching who?

Thoughts on Jobs and the Role of Government

Every day I watch my son, Aaron who has the label of autism, as he sits and loses skills he had in high school. We still have the dream plan, we still have the hope, but we need help to make it happen.

Why is that?

I know it is very popular to bash the government. “Not a government plan”, right? But is that what we really want?

The model programs, grants, initiatives for work, and job coaches of ten years ago are gone-zap.

New RSC priorities and guidelines, cutbacks and more cutbacks on funds have dried up and forced us back to depending on the charity, kindness and pity of others.

It’s NOT a matter of not knowing what to do

We know how to support people in the workplace. It is difficult surely, but we know how to get people jobs.

Special Education and Rehabilitation Services has decades of research and model projects. Marc Gold, Lou Brown and hundreds of skilled teachers and professionals have shown us the direction and specific skills we need to get jobs.

Unfortunately, because there is no mandate for adult services (like public laws which require children to go to school), there are also no requirements for adult day programs. No certification for the people in charge (GED prefered instead of licensed teachers), no functional or community based curriculum, no related services like speech, physical or occupational therapists. Adults are on their own. And there is no due process rights for parents/guardians to hold people accountable. We are told to find another program if we are unhappy.

So, what are our alternatives?

We have to keep believing. Keep telling others about the vision of a job, or if not paid, then meaningful work/volunteer experiences.

Our young people have to remind us not to give up. They have to keep in our face singing, shouting and even misbehaving.

Certainly we need the government. And we need those government plans to be more than just pieces of paper–we need them to support each individual so they can at least partially participate in having a job.

Comments: Any thoughts on “I need a job?” Any other videos you want to recommend to our community?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best, Mary

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Remember this video:

Better than Church I still love this one, don’t you want to just sing along?

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Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
Mary