#GivingTuesday at CTD

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Thank you!


#GivingTuesday, December 1, has passed, but you can still check out our count down of 7 of CTD's biggest accomplishments of 2015- which were all made possible by the financial support and advocacy of you, our members.

Give now.

#1: 75%: percentage of CTD actions taken this session by new CTD advocates.

Action Alert

Online organizing is becoming an ever more present component of political activism (you may have noticed!). While voting, coalition building, phone calls, petitions, and in-person office visits to key decision makers are still crucial elements of participating in the law-making process, writing emails and engaging with them on social media are now part of the picture as well.During the 84th Legislature, CTD made 7 calls to action regarding issues of personal attendant wages, the ADA, SSLCs, Independent Living Services, and the Texas ABLE Act.

Over 800 people responded, sending 7,624 emails to legislators and their staffs! Of those respondents, 75% were taking their first-ever action with CTD. We are thrilled that so many of you joined our ranks this session and look forward to what we can do together during the interim and the 85th Legislature!

Join a CTD Action Group to get involved in your top priorities!


#2: 10,857: number of Hepatitis C patients in Texas who will have access to a life-changing cure.

Early in 2015, for the first time ever, a pharmaceutical cure for Hepatitis C was developed. Efforts to get the drug covered by Medicaid stalled, but CTD staff was able to leverage our connections and position to get it included in Medicaid formularies (lists of approved drugs).

Because of this, 10,857 Medicaid beneficiaries with Hep C in Texas will potentially have access to this life-changing cure.


#3: 24: number of countries represented in 2015 submissions to our Short Film Competition and Creative Writing Contest.

Film Fest logo. A blue handy man leaning forward holds a green video camera. The wheel of his wheelchair forms the letter C.In 2007, we added a short film competition to our annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival. Not only do we receive films from filmmakers of all ages, races, economic backgrounds, and disabilities; they come to us from all over the world. Our first international film Grand Prize winner came from Canada in 2009, and since then, participation from outside the U.S. has only increased.

It was the same story in 2013 when we open our Pen 2 Paper creative writing contest to international entries. Creative work from English-speaking national began to trickle in, and in 2014, we had our first international division winner from the UK.

Animated GIF: a white map of the world with various counties filled in with color.

Countries represented in our 2015 arts initiatives include: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherland, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Learn More


#4: 6,341: number of emails sent by 403 Independent Living advocates to their representatives about keeping their services where they wanted them.

On recommendations from the Texas Sunset Commission, the 84th Legislature prioritized a major overhaul of our state's health and service agencies. How to proceed, however, was a matter of much debate and disagreement.

In particular, CTD was concerned about the future of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), which houses Independent Living programs, including Texas' Centers for Independent Living (CILs). Sunset had recommended DARS' dissolution and the transition of its programs into the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Whil e major changes to health and human services agencies had been under discussion for nearly a year, well-developed plans for DARS had never materialized (view video for a full explanation).

So we issued a call to action, urging DARS consumers to tell their reps why some DARS programs like the CILs should remain under HHSC's umbrella- after some careful planning. Over 400 IL advocates rallied! Because of your overwhelming response, the CILs will move to HHSC next fall, rather than TWC right now.


#5: 9,000: HHSC's estimate of the number of Texans on the wait list for community services who will be eligible to enroll in the Community First Choice Option (CFCO).

SB 7 graphic. In shades of blue and purple, the letters SB7 hover above the outlines of four people raising hands, taking notes. During the 2013 legislative session, managed care underwent sweeping changes by way of the controversial Senate Bill 7 (SB7). CTD put a good deal of time and energy into supporing this far-reaching reform effort, in part, because one of SB7's sections provided for the creation of the Community First Choice Option (CFCO). CFCO provides habilitation and attendant care services to people on Medicaid, including people receiving little or nothing on the community waivers interest lists.

The program began enrollment this summer.

With interest list waits extending over 12 years long, the need for effective and wide spread service delivery is clear. The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) estimates it will reach 9,000 Texans in this cross-disability program.

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#6: 100%: amount of control over major life choices a person retains when they enter into a Supported Decision-Making (SDM) agreement, as opposed to a traditional full guardianship

GRSDM Workgroup post-session celebration
A group of men and women of mixed ages and business attire stand in a line and pose for the camera, most are holding glass plaques.
L-R: Judge Guy Herman, Representative John Smithee, Dawn Carlton, David Slayton (OCA Director), Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Senator Judith Zaffirini, Jessaca Bond, Dennis Borel (CTD Executive Director), and Belinda Carlton (TCDD). Photo Credit: TCDD

Guardianship is a legally binding agreement that allows a person (the guardian) to make major decisions for another person (the ward). In many cases, the guardian acts in the genuine best interests of his or her ward; however, abuse and neglect can happen. In fact, court cases involving guardianship in Texas have been on the rise, cause for concern for seniors and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) (who make up 51% of the population under guardianship).

Thanks to your ongoing support of CTD, our advocacy team was able to play a leading role in the Guardianship Reform and Supported Decision-Making Workgroup (GRSDM, right), a diverse group of individuals and organizations with a stake in changing the game. This session, we brought much needed reform to guardianship laws, including:

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#7: + 1/2 Million: estimated number of Texans who will qualify for an ABLE Account

Historically, people with disabilities have had limited, often expensive, options for saving money, but we took a big step forward in this area with the passage of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act late in 2014. ABLE establishes the possibility of a financial safety net and economic independence from the $2,000 Medicaid eligibility asset cap and the reliance on limited SSI/ SSDI income.

In order for the ABLE to take effect in Texas, the Legislature had to pass enablement legislation. CTD's Developmental Disabilities Policy Fellow,* Chris Masey, now a recognized subject matter expert on ABLE, worked tirelessly to educate decision makers about the issue of financial security for people with disabilities and to organize self-advocates and groups. And, 65 CTD members wrote to their representatives encouraging their support of ABLE enablement legislation. Our efforts paid off: the Legislature unanimously passed Texas ABLE (SB 1664).

Table: Estimated Populations of Texans with disabilities who will qualify for an ABLE Account (age 0-26)

TCDD estimate of Texans with a developmental disability (< age 22)¹ 500,000
State population estimate of Texans with a disabilities (age 23-26)² 71,456
Total Potential Participants 571,456

¹ 1.8% Texas Council on Developmental Disability Estimate of Developmentally Disabled Projection
² 5% estimate of total population of 1.4 million people ages 23-26 Texas State data Center

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Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities* Financial Support for the CTD Developmental Disabilities Policy Fellowship is provided by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, with Federal funds* made available by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. *$67,500 (71%) DD funds; $27,011 (29%) non-federal resources. Special thanks to VSA Texas for assistance with the participant application form.