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SCDD’s Work on Employment Initiates the Governor to Call for Access, Equity and Opportunity for People with Disabilities

October 16, 2020       

State Council’s Work on Employment Initiates the Governor to Call for Access, Equity and Opportunity for People with Disabilities

In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a letter recognizing the importance of hiring and retaining people with disabilities in building a stronger and more inclusive economy. In this letter, the Governor calls on “employers, schools and other community organizations in California to redouble their efforts to ensure access, equity and opportunity for people with disabilities.”

This recognition results from advocacy by the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD). SCDD requested the Governor to use the month of October that is National Disability Employment Awareness Month to both raise awareness of the employment barriers and challenges experienced by people with disabilities, but also as an opportunity for a call of action to address those barriers and challenges.

Data from SCDD’s 2019 Report of the Employment First Committee was highlighted in the Governor’s letter to illustrate the need for reducing the disparity and improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

SCDD’s Chair Maria Marquez stated, “Despite the success stories of people with disabilities in the workforce, we still have a lot of work to do to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” She continued, “I am grateful that Governor Newsom is encouraging everyone to take action to make the future of disability employment better, and I look forward to finding ways for the State Council to partner with the Governor and stakeholders to address this issue.”

The full letter is available at www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020-Disability-Employment-Awareness-Month-.pdf.

State Council’s Documentary Set To Premiere at the San Diego International Film Festival

October 13, 2020

State Council’s Documentary about Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities Set To Premiere at the San Diego International Film Festival

The California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) produced a documentary called Let’s Work by awarding a grant to the California Transition Alliance who worked with Inclusion Films to highlight the employment journeys of 8 young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The documentary was invited to be premiered at the San Diego International Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17.

The documentary’s goal is to increase access to information for Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and supporters to obtain Competitive Integrated Employment. The project is consistent with SCDD’s mission to advocate, promote, and implement policies and practices that achieve self-determination, productivity, independence, and inclusion in all aspects of community life for Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Inclusion Films was the film crew that worked with the California Transition Alliance over the last year to create Let’s Work. Inclusion Films started in 2007 by veteran filmmaker Joey Travolta and teaches filmmaking to individuals with developmental disabilities. One of the goals of Inclusion Films is to continue to seek out employment opportunities in the film industry for individuals with developmental disabilities.

The 2020 San Diego International Film Festival will take place October 15-18. As the region’s premier film festival and one of the leading stops on the independent film circuit, film lovers will enjoy features, documentaries and shorts online in the San Diego International Film Festival Virtual Village and on the big screen at the Festival Drive-In Movies at Westfield UTC.

People who are interested in attending the film festival to watch Let’s Work can still purchase their day passes at sdfilmfest.com/festival-passes-2020 and use the code LETSWORK30 for a 30 percent discount.

Once the documentary premieres this weekend, the full version will be available for the public to watch at no cost. The trailer for the documentary is available now at youtu.be/eCYwC63zy8M.

Safety and Employment Opportunities for Californians with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Improved

October 1, 2020

Safety and Employment Opportunities for Californians with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Improved

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1264 on September 30th. The bill was authored by the Senate Committee on Human Services. The State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) sponsored the initial bill’s provisions related to authorized representatives and the Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP) to protect the civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing changes to different policy areas.

SB 1264’s main components include:

  • Clarifying the process for a person with a disability who is interested in having an authorized representative appointed. Authorized representatives assist with expressing desires of the people they represent and in making decisions and advocating for their needs, preferences, and choices.
  • Extending the sunset of the LEAP’s Internship Program. This extension ensures that the option for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities does not expire while the work of the Governor’s Taskforce on Diversity goes forward this year. The sunset date changes from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022.
  • Requiring licensed residential facilities and adult day programs to adopt emergency and disaster preparedness plans.

SCDD’s Chair Maria Marquez applauded the passage of the bill and stated, “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often have to endure extra challenges because of the lack of good foundation in the system. With the signing of SB 1264, we are improving the system one step at a time by ensuring safety and extending opportunities.”

The bill passed both houses unanimously and takes effect on January 1, 2021.

State Council on Developmental Disabilities Honors the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

 

July 27, 2020

State Council on Developmental Disabilities Honors the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Even after the nation commemorated July 26, 2020 as the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act that was passed in 1990, the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) continues to publish a variety of stories from people with disabilities about how the law has impacted their lives. The special anniversary was also declared by California Governor Gavin Newsom as Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day.

The Statewide Self-Advocacy Network (SSAN) within SCDD is a group that connects self-advocates, their communities, and statewide organizations to increase leadership by people with disabilities. One of its members who lives in Sacramento, Renee Wooten expresses, “We have come a long way in terms of access to employment, transportation, and long-term services and supports.”

The anniversary is also an opportunity for people to think about how there is more work to be done for people with disabilities to achieve the goals of the ADA including full participation, independent living, equality of opportunity, and economic self-sufficiency. Wooten shares, “I was lucky to be included in a Target ad when I was a kid. It has been neat to see other clothing chains start to include people with disabilities in their clothing lines. I look forward to a future where families with disabilities are present in ad campaigns. I look forward to living in a world where people who use assistive technology like wheelchairs and canes are looked at no different than people who wear hearing aids or glasses.”

SCDD’s Chair, Maria Marquez said, “We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone of the Americans with Disabilities Act. People with disabilities have worked tirelessly to make our voices heard in the community, and the Council will continue their work to make every community a place where people with disabilities can have the same full and equal opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as all other people.”

SCDD’s ADA stories and discussions from its SSAN members, Regional Advisory Committee members, and Councilmembers including the items listed below will be published throughout the rest of July on its Facebook page on facebook.com/CalSCDD.

Over 6 Million Pieces of PPE Secured and Distributed to Californians with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

May 29, 2020

Over 6 Million Pieces of PPE Secured and Distributed to Californians with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

After continuous advocacy, the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) has secured over six million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for people with intellectual or developmental disability and their families from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The items include sanitizer, masks, and face shields.

SCDD is able to quickly distribute these items by creating a regional plan for how to safely give these items to people with intellectual or developmental disability. Hundreds of community-based partner organizations throughout California have been invited by SCDD to work together in the distribution process in their areas.

For example, the Sacramento Regional Office is hosting a three-day drive-through from Monday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 3 at Alta California Regional Center. Most offices are working with police departments, school districts, churches, self-advocacy organizations, regional centers, providers, community non-profits to make the distribution process efficient and safe.

Maria Marquez, the Chair of the Council stated, “I am elated to know that the Council is now able to give necessary PPE to the families in need. I would like to thank the Governor and all the agencies and local partners that are working tirelessly during this public health crisis to keep our state safe. We will continue to work together to protect people with IDD and their families from COVID-19.”

People who live in California and have an intellectual or developmental disability, or their family member, can email their SCDD Regional Office to request PPE. Here is the list of the 12 regional offices and the email address they should use for the request:

North Coast Regional Office

Counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino

Email: northcoast@scdd.ca.gov

 

North State Regional Office

Counties: Butte, Tehama, Plumas, Lassen, Glenn, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Trinity

Email: northstate@scdd.ca.gov

 

Sacramento Regional Office

Counties: Alpine, Colusa, Sierra, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba

Email: sacramento@scdd.ca.gov

 

North Bay Regional Office

Counties: Napa, Solano, and Sonoma

Email: northbay@scdd.ca.gov

 

Bay Area Regional Office

Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo

Email: bayarea@scdd.ca.gov 

 

North Valley Hills Regional Office

Counties: Amador, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne

Email: northvalleyhills@scdd.ca.gov

 

Central Coast Regional Office

Counties: Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz

Email: centralcoast@scdd.ca.gov

 

Sequoia Regional Office

Counties: Fresno, Kern, Mariposa, Madera, Kings, Tulare, and Merced

Email: sequoia@scdd.ca.gov

 

Los Angeles Regional Office

Counties: Los Angeles

Email: Julie.Eby-McKenzie@scdd.ca.gov

 

Orange County Regional Office

Counties: Orange

Email: orangecounty@scdd.ca.gov

 

San Bernardino Regional Office

Counties: San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo, and Mono

Email: sanbernardino@scdd.ca.gov

 

San Diego Imperial Regional Office

Counties: San Diego and Imperial

Email: sandiego@scdd.ca.gov

Listening Session in Inland Empire Connects Community Members to State and Federal Representatives

February 20, 2020

Listening Session in Inland Empire Connects Community Members to State and Federal Representatives

SAN BERNARDINO – Community members including people with developmental disabilities and their family members gathered at San Bernardino Valley College last night to discuss how they have dealt with emergency situations including wildfires, and active shooters and what resources they need. This event was hosted by the Administration on Community Living’s Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) and the State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) to provide a forum where the federal representatives from the OIDD could collect stories and recommendations.

Prior to the listening session portion of the event, various government representatives and local leaders gave remarks, including:

Levi Bailey, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Supervising Investigator
Mona Bontty, CalOES Emergency Management Instructor
Beth Burt, Inland Empire Autism Society Executive Director
Aaron Carruthers, SCDD Executive Director
Kelli Catlett, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Chief Deputy District Attorney
Allison Cruz, OIDD Acting Director
Tamica Foots-Rachal, SCDD San Bernardino Regional Manager
Esmerelda Vazquez, Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes’ District Representative

The OIDD representatives asked attendees to share their experience regarding emergency preparedness, evacuation, and immediate needs.

Many of the attendees spoke about their experiences responding to recent emergencies and suggested ideas and plans for better and improved preparedness. Some of the ideas discussed were ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing people are made aware of announcements, involving local media to spread the message of preparedness, and creating collaboration between local organizations. These ideas were later written down as recommendations for the OIDD to bring back to its federal partners.

A woman writing on a poster board

Councilmember Kara Ponton writes down her emergency preparedness recommendations. High quality photo is available at https://scdd.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/02/Councilmember-Kara-Ponton-writes-down-her-emergency-preparedness-recommendations.-2.jpg.

OIDD Kicks Off Its First California Listening Session in Chico

February 18, 2020

Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) Kicks Off Its First California Listening Session in Chico

CHICO – Representatives of the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) and the federal Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) met in Northern California today to start off OIDD’s listening session series in California. This is OIDD’s 15th listening session, and its goal is to hear about how people prepare for disasters and how they are recovering from the recent natural and man-made emergency events. OIDD representatives are meeting with people with disabilities, family members, and service providers to discuss what worked, what did not work, and what resources are still needed in times of emergencies.

The first stop of the listening session series in California was Chico. The OIDD representatives toured Paradise to observe the fire-impacted areas. The tour was led by Charles Nutt, a former SCDD Councilmember who lost his home due to the Paradise Fire.

At a town hall style event at the Chico Masonic Family Center, outreach tables were set up by local organizations and agencies including Far Northern Regional Center, Disability Rights California, and CAL FIRE Butte Unit. The regional focus of today’s listening session was wildfires and public safety power shutoffs (PSPS), and the speakers at the afternoon event were:

  • Shelby Boston, Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services Director
  • Aaron Carruthers, SCDD Executive Director
  • Allison Cruz, OIDD Acting Director
  • Melissa Gruhler, Far Northern Regional Center Executive Director
  • Roger Hatton, Shasta County Far Northern Regional Center Board of Director Member
  • Bob Irvine, California Vocations Retired Director
  • Sarah May, SCDD North State Regional Manager
  • Vance Taylor, CalOES (Governor’s Office of Emergency Services) Office of Access and Functional Needs Chief

The listening session in Chico included a facilitated conversation in which audience members answered questions about preparedness process, challenges, shelter, and mental health from OIDD Acting Director Allison Cruz and her team.

After collecting recommendations and stories from the audience, Cruz exclaimed, “My team and I are grateful for the warm welcome we received in Chico today. The challenges and best practices the participants shared with us will be extremely helpful as we provide these recommendations across federal partners and programs to inform their work in the Northern California region.”

The OIDD and SCDD representative meet in Sacramento tomorrow morning to discuss the State Plan then head to San Bernardino to meet with Councilmembers representing the region.

Councilmembers Set Policy Priorities at the First Council Meeting of 2020

February 11, 2020

Councilmembers Set Policy Priorities at the First Council Meeting of 2020

SACRAMENTO – The State Council on Developmental Disabilities decided on its policy priorities at the first council meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Hilton Arden-West in Sacramento. This meeting was presided by the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Council, Maria Marquez and Julie Austin, respectively. The Council is focusing in 2020 its policy priorities on employment, housing, safety and education, and the Councilmembers will focus on advocating for systematic change in these areas to improve the lives of Californians with developmental disabilities.

Marquez and Austin are an experienced pair that has been serving as interim Chair and Vice Chair since July 2019 and were officially elected to lead the Council at the meeting in November 2019.

Chair Maria Marquez of Los Angeles is a self-advocate. She is a member of the Regional Center of the East Bay’s Board of Directors and Consumer Advisory Committee and serves as vice president of the center’s Self-Determination Program Local Advisory Committee. Maria is a consumer advocate for the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, peer advocate for the Family Resource Center and Disability Rights California. She also serves as a member of the Developmental Disabilities Council of Contra Costa County and works at the University of Southern California’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). She is a statewide representative at the Council.

Vice Chair Julie Austin of San Diego is a family advocate who has been an independent special education and disabilities advocate since 2001 and an In-Home Supportive Services caregiver since 2010. She represents San Diego and Imperial Counties at the Council.

Marquez expressed her gratitude and excitement to be chosen to lead the Council and stated, “Vice Chair Julie Austin and I are looking forward to serving Californians with developmental disabilities and their families. 2020 is going to be a fantastic year full of education, communication, and activities.”

The next Council meeting is set for March 17 in Sacramento and every meeting is open to the public. March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and some Councilmembers will visit their state legislators at the Capitol the day after the March Council meeting.

Two ladies sitting next to each other

Julie Austin (left) and Maria Marquez (right). High quality photo of this photo is available at https://scdd.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2019/11/IMG_0632.jpg.

Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Protect Students with Disabilities in Non-public Schools

October 7, 2019

Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Protect Students with Disabilities in Non-public Schools

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1172 last Wednesday authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier. In 2018, a student in El Dorado Hills died after he reportedly stopped breathing after being placed in a prone restraint for over an hour. The California State Council on Developmental Disabilities was pleased to testify in support of the bill that takes important steps forward to protecting students attending non-public schools.

AB 1172 adds safeguards to enhance student safety by requiring on-site monitoring visits to non-public schools, requiring non-public schools to report incidents involving law enforcement to the California Department of Education (CDE), and allowing CDE to suspend or revoke the certification of a non-public school if the health or safety of a student is being compromised.

“I am delighted to hear Governor Newsom signed AB 1172. We are grateful for Assemblymember Frazier and Superintendent Thurmond’s leadership to ensure our students including those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are protected in school” stated Maria Marquez, Interim Chairperson of the Council.

Assemblymember Frazier responded to the signing of AB 1172 by stating, “I want to thank the Governor for signing AB 1172, legislation that will ensure the safety of students at specialized nonpublic schools. The most vulnerable students in our state deserve a safe place to learn,” said Assemblymember Jim Frazier. “I am also grateful to Superintendent Tony Thurmond for his partnership on this issue. Our exceptional students benefit from expanded educational opportunities and I look forward to collaborating with the Superintendent on this subject in the future.”

Video of AB 1172 in Assembly Education Committee (April 24, 2019): https://youtu.be/dewxc0oGup0

Governor Newsom Signs State Council Sponsored Apprenticeship Bill into Law

August 2, 2019

Governor Newsom Signs State Council Sponsored Apprenticeship Bill into Law

SACRAMENTO – The State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) commends Governor
Newsom for signing AB 1019 into law. AB 1019 was authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier and
sponsored by SCDD. This bill amends the California Labor Code to expand membership of the Division of
Apprenticeship Standards’ Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (IACA) to include the
Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Executive Director of the State Council on
Developmental Disabilities.

“We are excited to welcome the Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Executive
Director of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities as ex officio members of the IACA. Their
addition to the IACA will be an invaluable resource for us as we continue to expand State Registered
Apprenticeship opportunities in California,” stated Eric Rood, Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship
Standards (DAS).

AB 1019 also requires the creation of a subcommittee to address apprenticeships for people with
disabilities. The IACA was created in 2018 by AB 235 with the goal of fostering, promoting, and
developing opportunities for competitive employment through apprenticeships.

“Apprenticeships are not only crucial to the success of our economy, but also provide an important career
pathway and opportunity toward competitive integrated employment for workers with and without
disabilities. The Department of Rehabilitation looks forward to working with all stakeholders to jointly build
and advance a strong and inclusive workforce in California,” stated Joe Xavier, Director of the Department
of Rehabilitation.

“Apprenticeships provide an important avenue to opening competitive employment opportunities to people
with disabilities. The Council looks forward to joining the IACA and working together to create new
opportunities by formally connecting these pathways to employment,” stated Maria Marquez, SCDD
Interim Chair. “The State Council is grateful for the leadership of Governor Newsom and
Assemblymember Frazier.