Maryland Department of Disabilities Newsletter written in white over Maryland flag
Gearing Up for Direct Support Professional Week 2016!
Direct Support providers, agency personnel, and Deputy Secretary Frank pictured during DSP week 2015 with Governor's Proclamation
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are vital to the life experiences of many people with disabilities in Maryland.  From employment support to community living assistance, DSPs are often the difference between community participation and isolation.  As a small token of appreciation we set aside one week in September (9/12 through 9/16) to travel the state thanking Direct Support Professionals for  their dedication and expertise.  Join us in our celebration by requesting a visit from department staff and a photo opportunity with the Governor's Proclamation as we travel throughout Maryland.  Stay tuned to our website and social media for information on applying for a visit and the chance to thank the irreplaceable DSPs in your life! 
Group photo in Maryland State House reception room with Lieutenant Governor along with Youth Leadership Forum students and leaders
Transition Corner

Students and mentors of the 2016 Youth Leadership Forum met with Lieutenant Governor Rutherford on June 24th in the State House as part of their tour of Maryland government.  The Youth Leadership Forum was initiated in 1992 by the California Governor's Committee on the Employment of Disabled Persons. This popular program spread across the country and is now conducted annually in more than 33 states. Maryland held its first Youth Leadership Forum (MD-YLF) in August 2000 and is pleased to welcome a new group of students each June.  Students who participate in the Maryland program must have a documented disability and be in their last two years of high school.  Their resume must include evidence of leadership potential, academic achievement, and community service among other attributes.  Students meet for three days at Towson University to learn leadership skills, explore disability history and culture, and develop tools for future planning.  Congratulations to the 2016 Youth Leadership Forum students and thank you to Lieutenant Governor Rutherford for enhancing their Annapolis experience!
26th anniversary ADA Event logo
26th Anniversary ADA Celebration:  INTERSECT

The Maryland Department of Disabilities is proud to announce plans for our 26th anniversary ADA celebration.  The event is a FREE community educational experience highlighting the opportunities created when technology intersects the lives of those with disabilities.  Featured in the day long program is a technology and resource fair, exciting keynote speakers, and a free community workshop on social media accessibility.  Event speakers include Secretary Beatty, Marian Vessels from the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, and nationally acclaimed disability advocate, Haben Girma.  Join us on July 26th at the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore as we unite as a community to celebrate our past and explore the possibilities of the future. Registration for the program and workshop are now full, but you can sign up for the waiting list at the below link.  Attendance at the technology and resource fair, however, is still open.  Sign up today.
State flag and changing Maryland for the better logo
Answering Governor Hogan's Call

Have you been following our weekly blogs?  If so, you would be up to date on many of the happenings here at the Maryland Department of Disabilities.  Our past two blogs have focused on Governor Hogan's recent customer service initiative for state agencies and our immediate and enthusiastic response to the Governor's focus on this important issue. 

Governor Hogan launched a new initiative on June 9th designed to foster improvements in customer service across Maryland State agencies. The initiative focuses on three core areas: a renewed emphasis on a strong service culture in State agencies; improved customer service training for State employees; and the establishment of new service performance metrics, which will allow the administration and all Marylanders to track improvements in customer service over time.

The Maryland Department of Disabilities has always made exemplary customer service a priority.  We have a dedicated Constituent Services Department which aims to serve those with disability related questions across agencies and jurisdictions.  We are pleased Governor Hogan has provided a renewed focus on customer service and are further analyzing our procedures to ensure they are designed to optimally support the constituent. 

To that end, our department compiled a new list of commonly asked questions by constituents.  These issues were collected from the responses given to our State Disabilities Plan Survey distributed to the public in the Spring of 2016. You can find this new compilation in the archived blog section of our website HERE.  If you have further questions, you can contact our Constituent Services Department at 410.767.3660 or by email at info.mdod@maryland.gov.  

We are pleased to join Governor Hogan and other State agencies in changing Maryland for the better! Find out more about Governor Hogan's initiative HERE.

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