Georgians asked to testify on needs of people with developmental disabilities

Carol Jones an advocacy specialist from the Shepherd Center carries a disability flag as she joined disability advocates and supporters who gathered in the rain at Liberty Plaza for the 17th Annual Disability Day for a State of Georgia Capitol rally hosted by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Advocates from across the state join together for support of legislation that will promote the independence, inclusion, productivity and self-determination of people with disabilities.
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Carol Jones an advocacy specialist from the Shepherd Center carries a disability flag as she joined disability advocates and supporters who gathered in the rain at Liberty Plaza for the 17th Annual Disability Day for a State of Georgia Capitol rally hosted by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Advocates from across the state join together for support of legislation that will promote the independence, inclusion, productivity and self-determination of people with disabilities.

Credit: John Spink

Credit: John Spink

Three virtual hearings planned for residents to bring concerns to lawmakers

Three virtual events offer Georgians with developmental disabilities and their advocates a chance to meet with lawmakers and discuss their concerns.

The sessions — one each in January, February and March — are part of The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities’ annual Advocacy Days initiative.

The first Advocacy Day on Jan. 26 will focus on the shortage of workers in the developmental disability field. Georgia ranks near the bottom of states in availability of such professionals.

On Feb. 16, the focus will be on the need to reduce the waiting lists for the Medicaid programs, New Option Waiver Program (NOW) and Comprehensive Support Waiver Program (COMP). In Georgia, more than 7,000 people with developmental disabilities are waiting to receive such a Medicaid waiver, and officials say some have been waiting more than a decade.

On March 16, the hearing will focus on advancing better pay for people with developmental disabilities. Georgia law allows them to be paid less than minimum wage. Georgia’s Employment First Council was charged with working on solutions in 2018 but hasn’t been meeting recently.

“Advocacy Days are an opportunity to come together as a community to learn and educate legislators about issues important to people with disabilities,” said GCDD Executive Director Eric Jacobson. “For GCDD, it is how we create community engagement and support efforts to change public policy.”

Each session runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register or for more information, visit: https://gcdd2022advocacydays.eventbrite.com.