Council Annual Report Summary

Community and Rural Health Planning
Public Health

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​Council activities in 2018 included the following:

  • The Council supports self-advocacy as a valuable resource to bring systems improvements and awareness through People First of Nebraska (PFN), a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization led by people with disabilities. PFN is a strong and engaged leader in disability advocacy in Nebraska and nationally. In FFY2017-2018, six PFN members have joined disability-related boards, and seven PFN members and three coordinators and advisors attended national disability conferences. During the legislative session, PFN hired a self-advocate to serve as the Disability Policy Specialist to increase the visibility and policy advocacy activities of PFN. Additional PFN member leaders testified at state legislative committee hearings on various issues. PFN hosted their first Disability Advocacy Day in February with over 50 self-advocates, family members, and disability professionals attending from as far away as Scottsbluff. In July, PFN co-hosted the 2nd Annual Disability Pride Day where approximately 100 people attended the rally and completed visits with their senators and their staff at the State Capitol. PFN hosted their annual conference in October featuring several opportunities for education, skill development, and awareness training for over 200 attendees. Many sessions were led by individuals with disabilities. PFN now sees themselves as more than just a collection of local chapters and are much more aware of their role in a regional and national movement for disability rights. 

  • Council funds supported the formation of the Juvenile Justice Brain Injury and Cognitive Disability Task Force with members representing Nebraska VR, Administration Office of Probation, Disability Rights Nebraska, and Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska. The Lincoln area task force included stakeholders from multiple backgrounds who met to identify a plan to reduce the number of youth with brain injury and cognitive disabilities entering into the juvenile justice system, and to ensure that those in the system receive adequate services and accommodations. Their work created a framework and vision of solutions to address the key challenges for these students. A Classroom-to-Courtroom Pathway (CCP) flow chart was created to illustrate the many supports and opportunities to assist the student to successfully remain in school, as well as the path to juvenile justice if behaviors warrant that path. With this flow chart, the level of understanding, communication, and problem-solving increased dramatically. One of the insights learned in this process is that in addition to cognitive disabilities and brain injuries, other challenges, including behavioral health and learning disabilities, affect a student — and the symptoms and manifestations of any/all of these may result in a student entering the pathway. The project's final report, available on the Council webpage, includes strategies and recommendations to address this systemic issue and lays the foundation for a second year of funding to expand efforts in North Platte, Schuyler, and Scottsbluff in 2019. 

    One task force recommendation was to enhance training to School Resource Officers (SRO) to prepare them in how to engage students with disabilities and brain injury in order to prevent these students from entering the juvenile justice system. The Council approved setting aside $30,000 for a subaward centered on providing this training. Funding will be provided in 2019 to the Lincoln/Lancaster County Human Resources Department to provide oversight of Strategies for Youth's nationally recognized SRO training curriculum "Policing the Teen Brain in Schools" to train Lancaster County Sheriff SROs, Lincoln Police Department SROs, and Lincoln Public Schools administrators.

  • Fritz & O'Hare Associates managed the project to develop transition resource guides to assist families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with transition into multiple services across the lifespan. The “Along the Way" guides include: Infants, Toddlers and Children; Adolescents and Young Adults; and Adults, with a comprehensive appendix included in each guide; and the “Directory of Resources for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities," a companion to the three guides. The guides will serve as a resource across multiple systems to steer families through the transition process, including in-depth information on preparing for life after high school. Guides will be distributed electronically and will be available on the Council webpage in 2019.

  • The Council funded Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) to increase advocacy and self-advocacy and leadership development by conducting a robust Statewide Leadership Training Seminar Series. A total of 56 individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders participated in training sessions in Scottsbluff, Kearney, and Omaha. Post-project surveys show nearly 100% of participants had increased their leadership activities by joining boards or workgroups. 
  • The Council funded MMI's Eastern Respite Network Service Area to form a Respite Task Force to develop a framework to strengthen, support, and expand the Nebraska Lifespan Respite Network system. The final report provides an overview of respite programs in the state, addresses the identified gaps and barriers to the utilization of respite care services in Nebraska, and includes recommendations and strategies to address the issues. A condensed two-page summary was created to share with Nebraska state senators and other policymakers. This summary includes one key recommendation to increase the $125 monthly Lifespan Respite Network subsidy rate in state regulations since the rate has not been increased since the program began in 1999. Administrative suggestions are also emphasized to improve efficiencies and streamline the requirements of the current billing system for providers to receive more timely payment for providing respite services. A link to the full report will be available on the Council webpage.

  • The Council supported “Project Discovery Employment Kits and Family Outreach" through Educational Service Unit 13. The project increased exposure to integrated community inclusion and transition and community-based employment for individuals with developmental disabilities through the use of employment kits focused on the areas of grocery clerking, animal care, cleaning/maintenance, and retailing and stocking shelves. The kits were able to be modified based on the needs of the student to improve their pre-employment skills. Project Discovery also included a component to train parents to encourage their transitioning youth to seek competitive employment.

  • The Council provided $127,000 for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to hire Technical Assistive Collaborative, Inc. (TAC) to provide technical assistance and consulting services to the department for the Nebraska Olmstead Plan. During Phase One of the Nebraska Olmstead Plan development, TAC performed a system scan and analysis to develop a general baseline of the services, housing, and other factors that support the ability of people with disabilities to live in integrated community-based settings. Phase Two encompassed TAC staff meeting on-site with state agency leadership and the Olmstead Advisory Committee, as well as conducting key stakeholder interviews. The final phase is being addressed in the 2019 LB570 to ensure that the necessary state entities are involved to assist TAC in drafting and finalizing the Nebraska Olmstead Plan.

  • Council staff advocate, collaborate, and increase awareness for individuals with developmental disabilities by serving on numerous advisory councils and committees. These workgroups provide Council staff the opportunity to stay engaged in federal and state legislative changes and policies impacting individuals with developmental disabilities. Staff participate on the DHHS Long Term Care Redesign Advisory Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, Disability Stakeholder Olmstead Planning Advisory Council, and the Governor's Developmental Disability Advisory Committee.

  • Collaborative activities between the federally funded DD Network Partners (Munroe-Meyer Institute/University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and Disability Rights Nebraska) foster partnerships within the network, including significant information sharing, joint training, and unified advocacy efforts. The focus for the 2018 annual joint training was on data from Nebraska's participation in the National Core Indicators Survey (NCIS). The NCIS is a collaborative effort between MMI and the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to assess the outcomes of services provided to waiver-eligible individuals and families. The indicators address the following key areas of concern: employment, rights, service planning, community inclusion, choice, and health and safety. The joint training provided an opportunity for the DD Network to identify trends or concerns from the first year of NCI data outcomes that the DD Network will monitor and address collaboratively in the coming years.

  • During the 2018 Nebraska legislative session, the Council followed proposed legislation related to developmental disabilities. Letters of support/opposition and/or testimony focused on educating and informing legislators and Council stakeholders on the Council's position on the bills. 
  • In order for the Council to come into compliance with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the federal oversight agency for all 56 state and US territory Councils, Council members will vote at the February 2019 meeting to formally change its name from the Nebraska Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities to the Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities.


2019 Annual Program Performance Report