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Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities will host its annual Advocacy Days

(Information submitted by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Photo by Marcus Aurelius; courtesy Pexels)

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities will host its annual Advocacy Days beginning Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, during the 2024 legislative session.

The agency will again host three advocacy days at the Georgia State Capitol and three virtual days
during the legislative session to give Georgia advocates with intellectual and developmental
disabilities, family members, partners and providers an opportunity to meet and speak with
their state representatives about issues important to the disability community in Georgia, according to news release.

Topics include inclusive post secondary education, waivers and wages and advancing employment first and ending subminimum wage. Each event will consist of a virtual portion where topics and how best to prepare for advocating at the Capitol building are discussed. The second day will consist of an in-person opportunity for advocates to meet Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities staff and partners, as well as state representatives at the Georgia State Capitol to advocate for these topics in person.

“As we eagerly anticipate our 2024 Advocacy Days, GCDD is preparing to passionately champion our
community’s needs. We look forward to joining our community in advocating for critical issues such
as securing backing and funding for IPSE scholarships, providing more HCBS waivers and increasing
DSP wages, and ensuring employment in Georgia is inclusive and competitive. Having people join us
under the Gold Dome is the highlight of our year, and we hope to see many of our advocates there
again this session,” said The council’s New Public Policy Director Charlotte Densmore.

Inclusive Post Secondary (IPSE) Advocacy Day
Jan. 22 and 24, 2024

Georgia has been leading the way in advocating for Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE)
programs. Currently, Georgia has ten schools supporting people with intellectual and other
developmental disabilities (I/DD) to go to school in Georgia.

These programs serve as a pipeline for future skilled and talented candidates with disabilities in Georgia to learn skills and get education that can help them to enter the workforce and/or live independently after college.

To register for the virtual event at 10 a.m. Jan. 22, 2024, click here. To register for the in-person event at the Georgia State Capitol at 9 a.m. Jan. 24, click here.

Waivers & Wages Day

Feb. 6-7, 2024
Georgia’s disability community is in a state of emergency regarding the Medicaid waitlist and wages
for direct support professionals (DSPs). Currently Georgia has a waiting list of over 7,000 people
waiting for HCBS services.

These services are critical for the disability community who are supported by DSPs. DSPs provide essential care, fostering independence and community integration. Yet, low wages persist as a significant challenge, leading to high turnover rates and impacting the quality of care. Funding the DBHDD rate study will increase wages for DSPs, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities.

To register for the virtual event at 10 a.m. Feb. 6, 2024, click here. To register for the in person event at 9 a.m. Feb. 7, at the Georgia State Capitol, click here.

Employment Day
Feb. 27-28

Creating inclusive employment opportunities is key to empowering individuals with developmental
disabilities. The next legislative session presents an opportune moment to address two critical
aspects of employment policy: ending subminimum wage practices and implementing ‘State as a
Model Employer.’

The practice of paying individuals with disabilities wages below the established minimum has been legal for decades. Continuing to pay individuals subminimum wages perpetuates inequality and hinders progress towards an inclusive workforce. GCDD advocates for policies that eliminate subminimum wage practices and ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities receive fair compensation for their work.

To register for the virtual event at 10 a.m., Feb. 27, click here. To register for Feb. 28 event at 9 a.m. at the Georgia State Capitol, click here.

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