RTC Policy Forums: Speaking with Community Members on Policies that Affect Them
Families of people with disabilities often seek guardianship or conservatorship because they are worried about a loved one's ability to make choices about healthcare or other matters. However, guardianship and conservatorship are not the only tool available. On May 2, ICI's Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) held a public discussion at the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul on supported decision-making and presumed competence as an alternative to guardianship. This event was one of dozens of RTC Policy Forums that have been held in the Twin Cities since their launch in 1992, each one an invitation to interested community members to learn more about and discuss policies that affect the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.
Held three or four times a year, the RTC Policy Forum series brings together people with disabilities, their families, staff from provider agencies, policymakers, and researchers in timely conversations that can make a difference in people's lives. "There are a lot of policy changes and initiatives under way at the state and federal level," says organizer Lynda Lahti Anderson. "Our recent topics include employment first policies, the HCBS [Home and Community Based Services] rule changes, and supported decision-making. We're planning another forum this fall about the effect of school safety policies on students with disabilities. It's important to provide an opportunity for people to learn how changing policies may affect the services and supports for people with disabilities."
RTC Policy Forum has always been an outreach expression of the RTC's mission to provide research, evaluation, training, technical assistance, and dissemination to support the aspirations of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live full, productive, and included lives in their communities. Anderson welcomes suggestions for future forum topics. For information about upcoming forums, watch future issues of FYI, and follow ICI on Facebook.