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Testimony: DDC Testifies Before Councilmember Muriel Bowser

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Testimony: DDC Testifies Before Councilmember Muriel Bowser

Mathew W. McCollough, M.P.A, Executive Director Developmental Disabilities Council testifies before Councilmember Muriel Bowser, Chairperson for the Committee on Government Operations

Witness Information

Name: Mathew W. McCollough, M.P.A
Title: Executive Director
Organization: Developmental Disabilities Council
Street Address: 441 4th ST NW Suite 729 North
City/State/Zip: Washington, DC 20001
Work Phone: (202) 727–6744
Website: http://ddc.dc.gov/

Committee Information

Committee: Committee on Government Operations

Chairperson: Councilmember Muriel Bowser - Ward 4

Subject: Fiscal Year 2011-12 Performance Oversight Hearing

February 28, 2012


Good day, Councilmember Bowser and the members on the Committee on Government Operations. My name is Mathew McCollough, and I am the Executive Director of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC). It gives me great pride and pleasure to speak on the outstanding achievements produced by the DDC in fiscal year 2011during this performance oversight hearing.

The DDC is an independent, community-based advisory council funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, and the Council possesses a membership of fifteen dedicated people charged with strengthening the voices of people with developmental disabilities (DD)1 and their families in support of greater independence, inclusion, empowerment and the pursuit of life as they choose. We strive to create change that eliminates discrimination and removes barriers to full inclusion through our advocacy.
1 According to the Developmental Disabilities Act, section 102(8), the term 'developmental disability' means a severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that:
1. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
2. Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
3. Is likely to continue indefinitely, and
4. 3 or more major life activities are impacted.

I would like to recognize two very important leaders that have contributed greatly to the overall success of the DDC in the past few years. I extend my appreciation to Derek Orr, Director of the Office of Disability Rights (ODR). ODR serves as the Designated State Agency for the DDC and since my appointment to the DDC Director position at the end of fiscal year 2010, Director Orr has generously provided his guidance and support as the DDC underwent a tremendous transformation throughout FY11. The DDC and I formally thank him for his time and leadership.

The DDC also wishes to recognize one of its own members, Mr. Victor Robinson. Victor is highly regarded and well respected within the disability community, both on the local and national stage. As many advocates know, Victor is recovering in the hospital from injuries sustained from an accident last August and he is progressing each day. As a native Washingtonian, the gentleman serves as a great community leader and advocate, and his straight-to-the-point but gentle voice will sorely be
missed throughout this season of agency oversight hearings. Yet, I am fully confident that Victor’s demeanor and presence will be felt once again in these grand halls of the Wilson Building next and future seasons to come.

According to a needs assessment report conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) for the Department on Disability Services and the DDC during FY11, there are over 8,300 DC residents with developmental disabilities2. With that important number in mind, the DDC members and staff had three overarching goals throughout the fiscal year:
2 Number based on 2009 data and includes populations with children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities
1. Become a fully functional entity capable of executing strong fiduciary responsibilities bestowed by our funding agency, ADD, and the community stakeholders that we serve;
2. Develop a new 5 Year State Plan (FY2012-16) reflective of the desires and needs by DC residents with DD and their families – mandated by ADD, and;
3. Obtain greater visibility and recognition as a credible resource and collaborative partner committed to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

I am extremely proud to express that the DDC members and staff successfully achieved these goals. More importantly, the following summary of FY11 outcomes and accomplishments provide evidence of the tremendous strides made by this organization:

● 3 Inaugural Programs Awarded & Operating in the Community

1. DC Advocacy Partners Program: Through this leadership program, 18 self advocates and parents are learning how to better utilize their self-advocacy skills to foster positive partnerships with people who are involved in the policy decisions surrounding services and programs that impact District residents with disabilities.
2. Self Determination and Advocacy Program: At least 15 young adults and students with disabilities will learn how to exercise their own self determination to impact and direct their own futures in such matters regarding where they want to go to school, work, and live in their communities.
3. Get Involved DC! Program: Community service and recreational opportunities are major contributors to feelings of health, wellness and high quality of life, and 40 students and young adults will be benefitting from this inaugural program.

● Coordinated the 2010 Disability Mentoring Days in October

24 government agencies and companies, 9 schools, and 49 students with disabilities participated in the DMD program in October and November 2010. As a result of our efforts, the following employment outcomes occurred:
a. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (federal agency) hired 1 college student as a Schedule A appointee, and;
b. At least 4 high school students were known to receive summer employment through DC's 2011 Summer Youth Employment Program.

● Conducted training sessions on the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability sensitivity for the Equal Rights Center, DC Rehabilitation Services Administration, Serve DC, University of the District of Columbia, and presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Scientists and Students with Disabilities and the Girl Scouts DC Metropolitan Conferences


● Provided over 10 technical assistances to the DC DOH Health Emergency Preparedness Response Agency and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency on planning for integration of functional needs and support services for people with disabilities.

● Sponsored or Participated in Several Community-based Events, including:
- Mayor’s Annual Disability Awareness Conference, “Toward Full Inclusion: Let’s Achieve It”
- Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March
- 2011 Disability Policy Seminar and met with the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to discuss matters on housing, employment, and healthcare
- Project Action!'s Self-advocacy Conference: "Growing Stronger: Self Advocates United for Change!"


● Created and Developed a Full Pledge Website Highlighting the DDC

● Successfully Created & Submitted New Five Year State Plan to the Federal Government

200 priority surveys were collected from self advocates and parents and 4 District-wide community forums were conducted in support of the State Plan development. The DDC received full approval of our State Plan from the funding agency, ADD.

The Office of Disability Rights and the DDC possess a community list serv of over 500 members, including the DC Councilmembers and their staff. Information and upcoming events are disseminated frequently through the list serv, and the messages have been freely shared throughout the DC metropolitan area and sometimes nationally. To get an idea of how meaningful the information is, one message found its way to the state of Washington and the person was requesting more information on the matter. The community list serv is arguably one of the most comprehensive and relevant source of disability-related information for the local community.

Due to its increased level of presence in and significance to the DD community, the DDC received invitations to serve on several advisory councils in Fiscal Year 2011. The DDC has representation on the American Association on Health and Disability advisory council in support of their Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant, "Bridging the Gap: No Woman Left Behind", specifically designed to provide breast cancer education to women with disabilities in Wards 7 and 8 and DC metropolitan area.

The DDC also actively serves on the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS) Community Advisory Board (funded by NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health's Region III Health Equity Council. These councils exist to address health disparities and transforming research to accelerate improvements in the health of diverse and underserved populations.

In closing, the DDC was extremely busy in fiscal year 2011. The needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families were centralized as the DDC proceeded. Indeed, the standard of excellence was set high. Yet, not only did the DDC meet the intended goals and outcomes for FY11, we far exceeded every expectation. However, our job as a council and as a community is not even close to completion. We still have a few billion miles to go and thousands of lives to help along the way. With that daunting reality in mind, I can only say this, You should only expect great things from the DDC in the future!

On behalf of the members and staff of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council, thank you very much for allowing me to speak before you today. This concludes my formal testimony, and I welcome any questions that the Chairperson or the Committee may have.