Council Annual Report Summary

Community and Rural Health Planning
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​​​​​​​2022 Annual Report Summary

The Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCDD or Council) works to address identified needs by engaging in advocacy, systems change, and capacity building efforts that promote self-determination, integration, and inclusion. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues. For Federal Fiscal Year 2022, NCDD received $527,570.00 in federal funding authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Act to support its work and priorities identified in the Council's State Plan. Its 25 members are appointed by the Governor with 60% of these members being individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) or parents or guardians of children with DD or immediate relatives or guardians of adults with DD who cannot advocate for themselves. Council activities in 2022 included the following:

  • As requested, the Council submitted revisions and updates on its 2022-2026 State Plan to the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Disabilities (ACL/AoD) in August 2022. ACL/AoD provided full approval of the updated State Plan in September 2022. The State Plan identifies the areas of most pressing needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in Nebraska. State Plan Goals include:
    • ​​Employment - Provide resources and improve competitive, integrated, and meaningful opportunities for employment, including self-employment with competitive wages, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from diverse locations and identities.
    • ​​​Informal and Formal Supports - Increase and strengthen the knowledge of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to promote and encourage informed decision making about their choices leading to improved quality of life, increased independence, productivity, and full inclusion in their communities.
    • ​Community Integration and Inclusion - Increase the capacity of communities and systems to fully include individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so individuals will have opportunities for greater independence and integration.
    • ​​Advocacy and Self-Advocacy – Implement and expand the tenets of self-determination, increase the ability and opportunity for individuals to advocate for themselves and others, and increase the number of individuals who meaningfully participate in policymaking and leadership roles.​​

    To see all objectives that fall under each State Plan goal, visit the Council website at

  • ​The Council funded a second year of Person-Centered Planning (PCP) training for service coordination staff, service recipients and their families/guardians, service providers, policymakers, advocates, and other interested persons across the state through June 2022. The Center for Outcome Analysis demonstrated continued success. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training project moved to a virtual format which allowed for far more participants than was originally planned, reaching a total of 3,500 people in urban and rural areas of the state. Outreach successfully reached Spanish-speaking participants who received live Spanish translation during the trainings. Participants increased their skills in demonstrating person-centered planning facilitation, listening to individuals, identifying what is important to the person, and including the person's preferences in their planning goals. This training is empowering people who receive Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) services to plan their life, find their voice, and work toward reaching their goals.

​​    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require that PCP be provided to all participants in any waiver
    program as part of the enrollment process and annually thereafter. In accordance with the CMS Final Rule, 
    compliance must be achieved by March 2023.

    The Council's PCP project set a foundation for systemic change with complete buy-in from the Division of 
    Developmental Disabilities (DDD), as demonstrated in the DHHS State Fiscal Year 2022 Business Plan. DDD 
    committed to transforming the waiver service plan system to align the service planning process with the
    commitment to support the whole person and encourage self-determination through PCP. In 2022, DDD developed a
    work plan to implement Individual Service Plan redesign using Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) as a framework for
    all HCBS recipients. DDD developed training and supports for the use of the CtLC framework and the incorporation
    of CtLC principles and tools into the service planning process. DDD also joined the National Association of State
    Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services Community of Practice for Supporting Families Across the Lifespan
    (CoP). The CoP provides technical assistance, learning opportunities, and activities to support the Nebraska team
    with Transformation efforts. Council investment in the PCP training with the Center for Outcome Analysis has
    resulted in a major shift in the way waiver services are delivered. Visit
to view success stories and to follow
    the evolving PCP work.​

  • ​NCDD provides funding to People First of Nebraska (PFN), the state's self-advocacy organization run by and for individuals with disabilities. PFN supports Nebraskans with disabilities to speak for themselves, know their rights and responsibilities, and support disability advocacy and leadership through coalition participation. PFN continues to expand efforts statewide to reach, educate, and engage younger self-advocates and their families in the self-determination movement. Successful coalition participation was evident when PFN co-hosted the successful Disability Pride Day in 2022 that drew more than 230 people to the Lincoln event. Their leadership in this statewide collaborative event has promoted the profile of People First to other agencies and groups that were not familiar with that organization and has expanded their network and contact list of other disability organizations, agencies, and advocates.

    PFN collaborated with the Nebraska Association of Service Providers (NASP) and Hands of Heartland to develop the
   ​ first ever Growing Independence pre-convention training seminar, and worked with their Board, membership, and
    community partners to plan their 44th annual People First of Nebraska state convention. PFN invited four self-
    advocates from the Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas to be the keynote speakers and lead a breakout session as
    well. The convention had 16 breakout sessions planned, all presented at least in part by people with disabilities. 

    The PFN project team continues to educate elected officials and policy makers about issues important to people
    with disabilities. PFN members continue to increase their advocacy and leadership skills and have become more
    confident in their outreach and work in the state, regionally, and nationally. The profile for People First of Nebraska
    is being promoted and ensuring that people with disabilities are involved in all levels of policy making and program

  • ​To launch efforts in improving employment outcomes and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), NCDD contracted with national subject matter expert Dr. Lisa Mills to conduct a comprehensive study of supported employment outcomes and services for people with I/DD. Dr. Mills has expertise and knowledge as a national consultant on Employment First who has worked with over 30 states, including Medicaid, Vocational Rehabilitation, and workforce agencies.  She has expertise in Medicaid waivers, Customized Employment, and value/outcome-based reimbursement models for supported employment services. The study will be completed in early 2023 and will provide the Council with data to address employment for individuals with I/DD in Nebraska.​

  • ​​Niagara University received subaward funding for a second year to present Emergency Management Disability Awareness Training. The main objective of the program was proper and appropriate response to individuals with disabilities, achieved through inclusive planning and active participation of individuals with access and functional needs in emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery. This training reached emergency managers and others involved in emergency response and focused on the functional and access needs of people with disabilities and the need to include them in planning for disasters and disaster response. Four two-day training sessions were completed across the state with 67 participants.

  • ​Eastern Nebraska Human Services Agency (Duet), a HCBS DD provider, received funding to support a project providing healthy relationships education and training with their staff so staff can educate supported persons & their caregivers. This project required Duet's Behavioral Services team to become certified in Elevatus evidence based and trauma informed sex education, motivational interviewing and building healthy relationships curriculum. The training curriculum taught Duet clinicians and program development specialists how to lead training and workshops skillfully and confidently on the topic of sexuality. Duet's Behavioral Services team successfully trained 51 employees on the entire curriculum, and efforts are underway for Duet to offer training workshops to the people they support, their guardians and loved ones. These upcoming workshops will be open to anyone in the community, not just people receiving supports from Duet. Their goal in 2023 is to train approximately 1,000 supported persons, Direct Support Professionals, and caregivers. 

  • PTI Nebraska (Parent Training and Information) was awarded a two-year grant to provide training, events, and webinars on the transition to adulthood and living independently to youth, young adults, their families, and to professionals and caseworkers. PTI Nebraska is Nebraska's only Parent Center and serves as a statewide resource for families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Council funds supported PTI's incorporation of PCP as a process-oriented approach to empowering people to plan their lives, speak up for themselves, and work toward reaching their own goals with a team. The PCP process fits nicely with transition planning and will become the cornerstone of all of PTI's updated resources and materials. The project has funding earmarked for an Outreach Coordinator to support connections to the Spanish speaking communities in Nebraska.
  • The Kolb Foundation for Disability Education (KFDE) was funded to launch an Adult Sibling Network to create a network of people with I/DD and siblings of people with I/DD to increase knowledge on improving quality of life and increase independence, productivity, and inclusion. With leadership provided by a woman with cerebral palsy and her sister, participants gathered socially for educational events to exchange ideas, provide support to one another, and develop more equitable relationships. The Kolb Foundation believes that all people with disabilities have the right to live a full and inclusive life in the community that they choose, and their motto is "Living...Not Just Surviving". The Adult Sibling Network was the first program of the revitalized KFDE. The Adult Sibling Network Project was effective at providing information about HCBS waivers and other supports.
  • The Munroe-Meyer Institute's, University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), was funded to empower families of children with autism. The purpose of caregiver training and involvement in behavior-analytic intervention was to provide families with strategies, tools, resources, and the necessary familiarity to play an active role in their children's treatment and interventions. Informational trainings were provided to 193 individuals across four training events. Training topics were identified from approximately 50 caregivers and 40 community members in the Nebraska community. This information was used to provide specific training that was disseminated to the community about autism spectrum disorder. Some of the topics included: diagnosis, applied behavior analysis, proactive strategies for challenging behavior, and social skills interventions.
  • The Council is involved in the Nebraska Olmstead Plan Advisory Committee to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and that the voices of those in the disability community are reflected. In December 2021, DHHS submitted a report to the Legislature written by outside consultant Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. (TAC) on progress with Plan implementation covering the months of June 2020 to December 2021. TAC's progress report highlighted many challenges and limitations on goal progress and stressed the need to include more rigorous strategies with measurable outcomes and targets for progress, including data-informed outcome measures. The Council Executive Director and other advocates monitored changes to the Plan's goals that use a "SMART" goal format so that the Plan will be more effective in measuring progress towards achieving Plan goals.

    Throughout 2022, DHHS divisions and sister agencies on the Steering Committee continued to work with the
    Olmstead Plan work groups and the Olmstead Advisory Committee to adjust the current goals and strategies that
    will follow the SMART format to determine the degree to which implementing the strategy increases community-
    based services and supports for individuals with disabilities. The revised strategies & updates to the Olmstead Plan
    will be released in early 2023, with work continuing as the DD Network partners (Disability Rights Nebraska and
    Munroe-Meyer Institute's UCEDD) continue monitoring progress.

  • ​In 2022 NCDD announced the release of updated Along the Way guides, a series of resource guides for persons with I/DD and their families. This series is based upon a core belief that all people should be given the opportunity to live, love, work, play, and pursue their chosen life. NCDD recognizes that this is often difficult for people with I/DD, since they may require the support of family members and others as they move through the stages of life. While there are many resources to assist, it can be an overwhelming and difficult process to navigate the services and systems and to find needed answers. To help with the navigation, the Council provided funding to Fritz & O'Hare Associates to create a set of guides to provide information and resources for individuals with developmental disabilities, their parents, and other family members. Originally developed in 2018, the updated guides reflect information current as of December 31, 2021. Updates include verified website links, contact information, and phone numbers, reformatting for improved readability, and additional new resources.

    The series contains three guides addressing the life stages (infants/toddlers/children, adolescents/young adults,
    adults) along with a fourth publication that provides relevant resources and contact information. English and Spanish
    language Along the Way guides are available on the Council Resources webpage at
. NCDD printed hundreds of the guides and distributed them with help from
    partners, including Fritz & O'Hare Associates, PTI Nebraska, and the Family Enhancement Program at Munroe-Meyer
    Institute's UCEDD. The Along the Way Guides have proven to be beneficial for parents and families of children with
    I/DD and professionals who work with them to find support in the community.

  • Other accomplishments: The Council was involved with many legislative efforts which ranged from public emergency preparedness to HCBS services and supports. The DD Network partners continue to move forward with Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to full guardianship for adults with I/DD by various activities to support this effort. NCDD continues to serve as a hub for resources and information for families, individuals with developmental disabilities, educators, HCBS providers, other disability professionals, and additional stakeholders. NCDD continues to collaborate with multiple partners, including key state agencies who provide supports to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Please contact us with any questions or comments about the Council's activities or if you would like to receive a copy of the complete annual report. Alternate formats for persons with disabilities are available.

Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities
Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 95026
Lincoln, NE  68509-5026
TTD: 800-833-7352​

Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities 2022 Membership

​Jennifer Meints, Chair
​Quinton Corwin
​Sheri Dawson
Brenda DeLancey
​Caiti Donaldson
​Jason Gieschen
​Shauna Graham
​Tony Green
​Shaistha Kiran Karipi
​Matt Kaslon​
​Seamus Kelly
​Cheryl Montgomery
​Ryan Moore
​Sara Morgan
​Stephen Morton
​Sharon Orduña​​
​Erin Phillips
​Amy Rhone
​Paige Rose
​Mark Shriver
​Rachel Siffring
​Judy Trent
​Dee Valenti
​Nate Watson

Kirsten Wilcox
​​Jane Ziebarth-Bovill

Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities Staff

​​Kristen Larsen
Executive Director
​Rachel Ward
Program Specialist
​Edith Titamoh
Program Specialist
​Nikki Krause
Administrative Support

2022 Annual Program Performance Report