In this edition, ACL Reporting FAQ's, Latino Family Engagement, Important Family data during COVID-19, DD Council Highlight from AZ and more...

Questions/comments or to submit content for consideration, contact
Angela Castillo-Epps or call 202-506-5813, ext. 100.
ACL Reporting System
On September 29, 2020, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) announced the ACL Reporting system would no longer be used by ACL programs. The ACL reporting system was the online platform where federal reports were submitted. 

Technical Assistance Center staff received questions about this news, and we have provided the most frequently asked questions below:

1. Question: Does this mean DD Councils are not required to provide an annual program performance report and State plan update?
Answer: No, annual reports and state plan updates are required for all DD Councils.
2. Question: Will a new template for the annual program performance report be provided?
Answer: No, the template for the annual report will not change, all federal performance measures and report requirements will remain the same.

3. Question: When will our reports be due?
Answer: PPRs and State Plan Updates will be due no later than January 1, 2021. OIDD Program staff will notify Councils should there be any change to this date and provide updates on a new reporting system soon.

Technical Assistance Recommendations:
1) Do not delay developing your FY 2020 Program Performance Report. 
2) Use the word document PPR template as a guide. 
3) Save your work frequently!

Upcoming technical assistance efforts:
The “Guidance for Completing the Program Performance Report” document is being updated. The sections on cultural diversity, 4-year Overview, and Council Financial Information are under review. A PPR webinar will be offered on November 17, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We will review the report and you can get answers to questions. 

The “Information for Completing a State Plan Update or Amendment” document is being updated. We do not expect major changes to this document. Please visit the State Plan Amendment/Update page for more information. ITACC staff are available to answer additional State Plan update questions you may have. Website Updates
State Plan Development
Five Year State Plan Development
The plan is due on August 15, 2021.

DD Councils develop the five-year state plan by conducting in-person events to gather public input. Due to COVID-19, many of these activities are being converted to virtual platforms. Check out the resource below. It includes updated information on gathering input when in-person methods are prohibited or restricted.

Public Input Strategies Resource 2022-2026 – Provides TA guidance on public input strategies, resources, DD Council strategies and survey examples.

If you are looking for a resource and cannot find it on the page, contact Angela at or call 202-506-5813, ext. 100.
 “Where focus goes, energy flows”:
Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council’s outreach and engagement efforts with the Latino community

The Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) recently sharpened its focus on full language access and cultural and linguistic inclusion. What better time than during the strategic planning process to begin outreach and engagement efforts with Delaware’s Latino community?

Delaware has a large and widespread Latino community, with the largest residing in our most rural county. The DDC has struggled to earn this community’s trust and encourage meaningful conversations. To overcome this challenge, we hired a contractor to coordinate our strategic planning activities. Marcella Saborio is bilingual, Latina and has a heart for advocacy and action.

Marcella hit the ground running with the DDC’s strategic planning process. She keeps in mind the Council’s desire to become known and trusted in the Latino community. Marcella is being seen as a source of advocacy and education for Latinos with I/DD and their families.

With her support thus far, the Council has achieved the following first steps:
  • Connected with two separate Delaware Latino radio station hosts. This resulted in an interview with a bilingual Council member and the Council Executive Director. The phone at the DDC started ringing off the hook with Latino families seeking advice. 
  • Coordinated forums for Latino families impacted by developmental disabilities. The forums were held on Zoom and included multiple Delaware service and advocacy agencies. Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Delaware Hispanic Commission, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and the Columbus Organization, which provides home and community-based services were present.
  • Arranged for the DDC’s Executive Director to present at the Delaware Hispanic Commission. This Commission is Governor-appointed and protects the rights of the Latino population in Delaware. The Council Executive Director has been invited to continue to attend the Commission’s meetings.

As a result of these efforts:
  • Latinos with I/DD and their families are becoming more aware of the DDC and what we do. They are starting to reach out to the Council and tell others about us, which is a huge success in our book!
  • Latino families are being connected to services and supports that they were previously unaware of.
  • Agencies that did not include the needs of Latino families now beginning their own engagement efforts.
  • DDC is making sure that agencies are following through with supporting Latinos with I/DD and their families.
  • DDC is encouraging mentorships between Latino families and advocates. These connections will decrease feelings of isolation.
  • DDC is working with the Delaware Hispanic Commission to increase language and online access to all state and government agencies.

While we still have a long way to go, we understand that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The commitment to focus our efforts on all Delawareans with I/DD is why we are here. Where focus goes, energy flows.

If you have state/territory specific questions related to DICLC, contact Angela Castillo-Epps at
DD Act Education
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act)

INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION.—The Council may support and conduct activities to promote interagency collaboration and coordination to better serve, support, assist, or advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. (Section 125 (c)(5)(F))

There are times when services for individuals and families are planned and implemented in silos. Meaning, there is little coordination to ensure the seamless transition of services and supports. DD Councils are in the position to be the ultimate conveners or facilitators of such coordination. Through its connections, DD Councils have the ability to bring the most important people to the table. Its mandated self-advocacy requirements ensure the best representation of advocates themselves.

Questions to consider...

  • During COVID-19, what needs are you seeing in your state or territory? Could those needs be addressed by gathering key stakeholders, individuals and families?
  • Are the rights of individuals and families at risk of violation? Could these issues be addressed by bringing together the Protection & Advocacy, self-advocacy organizations and the Office of Civil Rights?
  • Is your state or territory advocacy group included on advisory boards for the COVID-19 pandemic? If not, how can your DD Council help identify potential advocates to serve?

For more information, see the DD Council Highlight from Arizona at the bottom of this newsletter. It is an example of how this section of the DD Act can be used by Councils to support other areas of need.
Data: NCI - COVID-19 Bulletin (Families)
woman and her daughter
National Core Indicators - COVID-19 Bulletin on Data from the Adult Family Survey

Using NCI data to understand the challenges that families of people with I/DD may be facing during the pandemic.

The formal system of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including supports for families with children and adults with I/DD living at home, has grown steadily throughout the past three decades. Although the I/DD system is heavily invested in residential services, national results of the 2018-2019 NCI In-Person Survey indicate that more adults with IDD live at home with families (38%) than in any other residential arrangement. (Across participating states, NCI survey results show the percentage ranges from 11% to 67 %.) We can conclude, therefore, that more than a third of people with I/DD receiving services nationally have been following CDC social distancing guidelines, limiting out-of-home activities and outings, and practicing other preventative actions with their families for weeks if not months during the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the University of Pittsburgh on the experiences of family caregivers in general (e.g., caring for aging parents, spouses with physical disabilities, children with health challenges, etc.) during COVID-19 indicates that they were more likely than non-caregivers to experience isolation, anxiety and depression, exhaustion, food insecurity and financial distress. Family caregivers who identify as part of a minority racial or ethnic group, younger family caregivers, and lower-income family caregivers experienced these same consequences but more intensely than higher-income white families.(Text taken directly from bulletin)

This bulletin reviews characteristics and outcomes that signal challenges these families may have faced and continue to face during COVID-19. The characteristics include demographic factors, behavior crises and lack of support, access to services and family connections.

How can DD Councils use this bulletin for their individual and family advocacy work? 
  • Use the statistics about diverse groups to educate and inform policymakers. Ensure that family caregiver groups are included in advocacy opportunities. For example, serving on advisory boards to increase access for unserved/underserved populations.
  • For isolation, use connections with service providers to ensure caseworkers share important information. For example, resources for local self-advocacy groups, peer supports and community networks.  
  • Facilitate the development of a family-to-family network. Individuals and families can access supports and learn to advocate for new and emerging needs.

For even more ways to use this important data, download and share the entire Bulletin by clicking below.

National Core Indicators is a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities and the Human Services Research Institute.
"We are proud of Arizona's collaboration and partnership to increase awareness of employment for people with disabilities."

Expanding National Disability Employment and Awareness Month (NDEAM)
Activities in Arizona!

The Arizona DD Council is partnering with its University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Arizona's APSE chapter and stakeholders. The goal is to highlight Employment First and National Disability Employment and Awareness Month. (NDEAM) A comprehensive media campaign was developed around increasing awareness and opportunity. 

The Council educated the Governor about the importance of NDEAM. It helped to draft language for a proclamation and supported its signing.  

During October, Employment First will educate the community on disability employment issues and inclusive work culture. 
The campaign efforts include: 
1. Sharing personal employment stories.
2. Announcing the release of a new toolkit for employers to diversify their workforce.
3. Acknowledging our Governor's NDEAM proclamation and his support for employment for people with disabilities.
4. Identifying resources for families on Arizona's Employment First website and promoting model employment practices.  
In addition, partners will host webinars featuring working individuals and how to engage employers. Partners will also conduct Facebook live discussions on accommodations in the workplace.
This is the first time a strategy was developed to proactively promote Employment First and NDEAM. It started with a discussion about creating a NDEAM press release and has grown into twenty-nine activities!

For more information, click on the button below for the Arizona Employment First Website or contact, Michael Leyva at
To reach NACDD/ITACC staff, please feel free to contact:

Sheryl Matney Director of Technical Assistance
202-506-5813 ext. 148,

Angela Castillo-Epps Technical Assistance Specialist 
202-506-5813 ext. 100,