A blog post

CDCI Connects Issue 6, January 2019: Policy

Posted on the 04 February, 2019 at 2:25 pm Written by in News


CDCI Connects: A monthly newsletter from the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion
CDCI Connects Issue 6, January 2019: Policy 


As we’re barely a month into a new year, it seems like a great time to reflect on new beginnings! The most exciting of which (for us at CDCI, anyway) is that of the birth of Director Jesse Suter’s second son. Jesse and his wife welcomed Charles Thomas to the world on January 19, and all are happy and healthy. Jesse will be taking some time away from the newsletter to be with his family, and we wish them all continued health, happiness, and hopefully some sleep.

The cycle of new beginnings can be seen in our politics this January, too. After more than a month in a partial shutdown, the federal government is, at least temporarily, up and running. 2019 also welcomed the convening of the most diverse Congress in our nation’s history. Locally, the Vermont Legislature is also back in session with Democrats holding an overwhelming majority, while Republican Phil Scott and Democrat David Zuckerman start their second terms as Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively.

With the opening of new legislative sessions, the policies that affect our lives and the lives of those we work with, support, and care for can undoubtedly change. In this month’s newsletter, we look at some of our partners who help advocate for policy and systems change to better the lives of those who experience disability, take a peek at a bill geared toward ethnic and social equity in our schools, and share about a new place in town to grab a cup of coffee while promoting inclusion, equity, and access.

Happy New Year,

Jeanne Nauheimer
Dissemination Coordinator

Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council Logo

Community Partner: DD Council

In November’s issue, we took a brief look at the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act for short). The DD Act is what makes it not just possible but actually required for Centers like CDCI to exist in every US state and territory. University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities are only a part of this authorization. There is also a mandate for every state to have a Protection and Advocacy Agency as well as a Developmental Disabilities Council. We like to think of it as three sisters or three legs of a stool that together hold up the principles of the DD Act.

This month, we took a closer look at one of the other legs: Vermont’s Developmental Disabilities Council (VTDDC).

Read more about VTDDC
Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights Nothing about us without us logo

Community Partner: Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (VCDR) is an organization that works to “advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities to ensure full and equal participation in all aspects of community life and political process” (VCDR website). VCDR works to fight for cross-disability rights, including those who experience developmental, psychiatric, sensory, physical, and other disabilities and puts out an annual policy platform that can help inform legislatures and community members.

Read more about VCDR

Vermont Reintroduces Ethnic and Social Equity Studies Bill

The Vermont Education Committee unanimously endorsed H.3, a bill that would convene a working group for Vermont’s academic standards to demonstrate ethnic and social equity curricula. This bill would also require data on bullying, harassment, and hazing in schools to be broken down by student demographics. A similar bill was proposed last year, but it did not make it out of committee. While there seems to be general recognition for how important H.3 can be, the Vermont Digger reported that some are worried there may not be the support needed to carry out this work.

Accessibility Achievements

UVM Updates LimeSurvey Templates

The University of Vermont uses LimeSurvey, a free and open source survey tool. LimeSurvey helps students, faculty, and staff throughout the university create and take surveys that widely vary in both complexity and targeted audience. CDCI is pleased to share that the default template for UVM LimeSurvey has been updated this week so that its color contrast ratios meet accessibility standards. We want to thank Amber Fulcher and Paul Yoon in the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Multicultural Affairs for their care in providing the university with materials that can be accessed by everyone, and to the Tech Team within UVM’s Enterprise Technology Services for quickly amending a template used by so many!

Arts, Media, & Culture

VPR Statehouse Coverage

Did you know that VPR has extensive coverage of the Vermont Legislature? Hosts Bob Kinzel and Peter Hirschfeld cover many of the goings on within the statehouse, and the radio network also provides a live-stream of House and Senate proceedings.

New Coffee House in Downtown Burlington

Perky Planet is a new coffee shop on the corner of King and St. Paul that employs individuals with disabilities as part of its business model. The coffee shop had its soft opening this past weekend after crowdsourcing the funds to purchase equipment in 2018.
Watch NBC5’s news story on Perky Planet.

Upcoming Events

Interested in more events hosted by CDCI, our partners, or others of interest to our community? Check out CDCI’s Event Calendar to find out about more opportunities to learn, connect, and have fun!

We’d like to let our readers know about the events of our friends and partners! If you would like to get the word out about an upcoming event, please email Jeanne Nauheimer.

NFI Vermont Youth & Parent Resource Expo

February 9, 2019, 10am-3pm
University Mall, South Burlington, VT

NFI Vermont will be hosting an expo of community organizations to display information that may benefit youth and their families from our local communities. This event is free and open to the public.

CANS Framework Presentation with Dr. John Lyons

February 21, 2019, 2-4pm
Davis Center, University of Vermont

John Lyons, creator of the Child and adolescent needs and strengths (CANS tool) will be coming to Vermont February 21st & 22nd. CANS is used across Vermont (and many other states) to aid in cross-system collaboration and progress monitoring.

Vermont Disability Awareness Day

February 27, 2019, All Day
Building, Montpelier, VT
Save the date for Disability Awareness Day at the State House in Montpelier, VT. The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (CDCI is a member) holds this annual event to raise awareness of key issues and “celebrate our common humanity.”

2019 Vermont Care Partners Conference: Stepping Forward Together

March 14, 2019
Davis Center, University of Vermont

Vermont Care Partners will be holding its annual conference to continue the discussion with national, regional, and local speakers about health disparities, cultural competence and ways we can improve our service delivery to all Vermonters. Learn more information about the Vermont Care Partners 2019 Conference.

Vermont Family Network Annual Conference

April 3, 2019, 8:00am-4:30pm
DoubleTree Hotel, South Burlington, VT

Save the date for the Vermont Family Network annual conference. Conference Details.

Intelligent Lives Film Screening with Dan Habib

April 3, 2019, 3:00pm-6:00pm
DoubleTree Hotel, South Burlington, VT

We are excited to announce that IntelligentLives and its creator Dan Habib are coming to Vermont. This new film captures an emerging paradigm in which people who have accessed supports can successfully participate in general education, college, integrated employment, and relationships. Make sure to save the date and RSVP on Facebook!
Watch Intelligent Lives trailer.

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Burlington, VT 05405-0305

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