The Ohio DD Council's Outreach Committee began in 2002 as a sub-committee charged with focusing on people with disabilities who are unserved or underserved, overlooked or excluded from needed services. The sub-committee reported to the executive committee and offered recommendations, but could not make final decisions. Gradually the sub-committee's approach to awarding grant funds for this work became fine-tuned. At that time, the group was ready to become a standing committee and the change was approved by DD Council in 2012.
The Core Purpose of the Ohio DD Council Outreach Committee
It is the purpose of the Outreach Committee to target unserved/underserved populations to participate as council members and grantees who will represent various races and ethnic groups throughout the State of Ohio.
In 2002, guidelines were set forth to establish a mission to create a diversity and inclusion initiative to increase membership on Council. This was to include strategies and approaches targeting populations to participate in advocacy activities with council programming and to bring them into the advocacy efforts of the mainstream disability communities.
The Committee’s programs are designed by federal law to serve people with developmental disabilities. (Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000)
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Section 601—Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs) states that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Despite many efforts, certain populations continue to fall through the cracks. It simply is unfair for some to have a surplus of services they need, while others have nothing.
When we reach out to populations that are unserved/underserved, we often find that there are barriers—some cultural, some of which may have other roots—that can be easily overcome. However, if we never reach out, we will never find out how easy it is to include other segments of our population. This is what the DD Act is all about—inclusion.
Currently, the Outreach Committee continues to focus on the niches within the developmental disabilities population that need assistance. For example, the Amish community is one that has many individuals in need of services, and represents certain cultural differences that must be understood in the process of offering services. Appalachian areas is another, along with many more.
In March 2017, the Outcomes Management Group, Ltd. conducted an evaluation of the Ohio DD Council's outreach outcomes achieved from 2002 to 2016 as a result of Council's focus on outreach to unserved/underserved individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in Ohio. The report highlights ten targeted grants, defines operational best practices, details benchmarks for other state councils; and determines how best to move forward. You can read the report here, which can serve as a guide for other DD Council's to follow in their work: Unserved/Underserved Populations Outreach Outcomes Evaluation Report